I started college at Georgetown University as a 17-and-six-month-year-old, thanks to the fact that I skipped eighth grade. At first I didn't think that being younger than most of my peers would make any difference in my college experience. However, there are six things I didn't think about that have made my life a little more complicated while being a minor at college.
1. Know state laws regarding employment of a minor.
For many states (and D.C.), you're required to get a work permit if you want to get a job as a minor, including an on-campus or work-study job. And believe me, getting a work permit is a pain-in-the-butt process that often involves going to a local high school to get your forms validated. Also, work permits often require a parent signature, so try to get that done whenever you see your parents next, or find out if verbal consent over the phone will suffice.
2. Have your social security card, passport, and birth certificate.
Don't get me a wrong, it's a huge responsibility to be the one in charge of these documents. However, you'll often need them to get stuff like the previously mentioned work permit and I-9 employment forms completed. Also, your social security number is literally about to become your entire life, so memorize it.
3. Get your own bank account.
Really, this is true for all college students but for a minor it's a lot easier to make your own bank account in person, at the bank, with your parents present. At the very least, have an account that's linked to your parents. You'll need this to receive direct deposits from your job and also to generally act like a financially responsible almost-adult.
4. Be aware of the age of consent in your college's state.
You'd be surprised by how young some of the ages of consent are, and more importantly, how nuanced the fine print is. Sometimes, a minor can't legally be with someone age 18 or older. It's always good information to have.
5. Sometimes you'll have to miss out on the fun stuff.
Sure, the drinking age is 21, but there are also lots of attractions that are 18+, where your friends will be able to go and you won't. The most common examples would be 18+ dance clubs, getting a tattoo or piercing and being able to stay out all night without a curfew (which is actually a thing, no matter how lightly enforced it is).
6. People really don't care.
Sure, you'll get a lot of cracks about being the baby of the group, or the occasional "Oh my God, you're only --!" But really, no one cares how young you are. Your classmates and professors will all treat you the same as they would anyone their own age. Your young age might even earn you a little more respect when people realize how mature you are.
Definitely don't feel insecure about your age in college. If anything, you'll be thankful for it when you graduate younger than everyone else and can impress prospective employers with your child-genius persona. A little extra red tape is well worth the best four years of your life.
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