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Mitch Harrison

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What should I really do with my youth? I'm 18, and I want to really learn. Advice from any adults out there?

I am a senior in high school, just two weeks from graduation. If I end up going to college, I know that I definitely want to take a year or so off. I want to really learn things first hand. I want to see the world and study cultures and people. If anyone out there has been there and can reflect back, I would love to hear from you. What should I study? Where should I go? What should I really think about? I want to give the rest of my life a boost and give myself a solid foundation in my youth. Thank you in advance for your help.


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  • May 22 2012: Plan: Make a list of 10 things important for you to accomplish in life. Do not limit yourself to simple and non-challenging goals. Actually write down 10 most important things you wish to achieve. The list could include any of the ideas you have of what to be...for example, to complete college or from ideas suggested by people in your circle of influence like the two ideas above to volunteer and travel to different cultures, etc.

    Next, figure out a practical means of actualizing your ideas. For example, the best means of combining volunteerism and experiencing other cultures is through the peace corps program. Asia and Africa presents good opportunities for this experience. A piece of warning; when you venture away from the comforts of your cultural, sociological, philosophical, ideological or geographical confines, you may feel the sensation of losing yourself. Take heart, and remain steadfast; you will end up at the very center of your enlightened consciousness. True freedom.

    Finally, as you journey along, do not lose your capacity to dream - of great and innovative ideas. Your presence here at TED and your quest for advise and direction is already proof that you are special, and on your way to becoming the unique individual you were expected to be. And if you do not achieve most of the ideas on your list, do not despair. Most people I understand never get to achieve a single most important thing that mattered to them. Imagine if you could achieve just 3 or 4 things on your list!

    So begin with that list, and enjoy the ride. It is a truly beautiful world.

    I wish you well.

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