March 29th, 2008
Alyssa tagged me into writing "6 Things Every Person Should Accomplish Before They Turn 18". I tried to come up with an interesting list, but because I wasn't a very interesting person, the list is just vague suggestions rather than specific accomplishments.
- Save Money - My parents had a policy for when we earned money: 10% went to tithing, and then from the remainder we could spend 50% however we liked and the other 50% was put into a savings account that we couldn't touch--it was for our mission or college. By the time I left on my mission, I had about $10,000 saved up.
- Join a Club or Specialty Class - Most of my fondest memories of high school are from my senior year--the year I joined choir. before that, I was a bit of a loner without too many friends. Being in choir helped me make a lot of friends and inspired me to take part in the school musical, for which I was cast in the lead role.
- Spend Time Outdoors - I have a lot of great memories of going on hikes, exploring caves, playing Capture the Flag, and mountain biking. i'm not all that good at sports and stuff like that, but being outdoors in nature was exhilarating.
- Learn Music - I learned (read "was forced to learn") the piano when I was a kid, but during high school I snuck downstairs and tried playing my dad's guitar. I'm still no good at either piano or guitar, but I enjoy playing both, and I believe that the musical training improved my mental abilities.
- Learn to Program - The summer between my junior and senior years was mostly spent indoors writing a game called "Mystic Warriors" in qBasic. It was probably the largest project I had ever worked on for that long and completing it was an accomplishment I took great pride in. I also believe that programming prepared me for learning another language. When I was studying Japanese, it was easy to compare nouns to variables and verbs to procedures to create complex phrase/functions in my head.
- Don't Worry So Much - This is the "What I Wish I Would have Known" section. The truth is, most people turn out okay. High school sucks on a number of levels, especially if you're different in any way, but high school ends and life goes on. The real world has a way of making awkward kids less awkward and popular kids less popular. For an explanation of why this is, you can read Why Nerds are Unpopular by Paul Graham. Try to have a perspective that extends beyond the walls of your school.