Photograph used via Creative Commons license, courtesy Will Clayton.
As the end of the year gets closer and closer, most of us Seniors will have turned 18 or will be turning 18 soon. This may not seem like such a big deal when you compare it to graduating or starting college or a job, but it is and we gotta be prepared for how it really changes everything for us.
1. If you’re a guy, you gotta sign up for Selective Service. There isn’t a draft going on right now and the only way the military gets new members is from people volunteering, but you still gotta sign up for Selective Service just in case the military ever wants to do a draft again. If you don’t sign up, you could get arrested.
2. Speaking of arrested, you ain’t going to juvie no more. At 18 you are an adult under the law and if you commit a crime and get found guilty or even cop a plea you will get an adult punishment.
3. It could also be illegal for you to have sex with someone under 18. They call that statutory rape cause even if it’s your girlfriend and she wants to have sex with you, it’s like you’re an adult and you are having sex with a minor. Ever heard of jail bait?
4. At 18 you can open a bank account, get a credit card, or get one of those pay day loans. Take my advice definitely open a bank account, get a credit card and only use it if you are gonna pay the full bill every month, but never ever get a pay day loan. Pay day loans and even check cashing placed are the biggest rip-off on the planet.
5. You can get married without your parent’s permission. Still make sure you are ready and found the right person.
6. You can get a job without any special permission or work permit required. 7. You can get sued. 8. You can sue someone without your parents doing it for you. 9. You can sign a contract which means you can rent an apartment or buy a car.
10. And the most important thing that you can do now that you are 18 is vote. Who and what you vote for has a huge impact on your life and the lives of those around you. It was politicians who got voted into office who created the Healthy Families Program which provides health insurance for every child in California whether the family can afford it or not. If you grew up in my hood, you were probably covered by Healthy Families. It was politicians that someone voted for who cut rich people’s taxes and thenwhen there wasn’t enough money, cut funding to our education. Just try to get that class you need at East LA College. So if you do one thing when you turn 18, register to vote!
If you want to find out more about how things work when you are 18 check-out one of those Turning 18 Guides. The one for California is here.