Life does eventually get better. Enjoy it, even when times are tough. Also, when it comes to education and growing up in general:
1) CONSIDER THE COST. If you cannot afford it, or cannot reasonably afford it (as in you cannot pay it off within two years)... DO NOT GO THERE.
2) Don't go for a liberal arts degree or business degree in a 4-year university. It's not very marketable (unless you're very specific), and you'll be laden with a heavy price tag that you'll have to match one way or another. I recommend scholarships. 😉
3) Learn adulting skills if you haven't already. There is a book, I believe called "The Useful Book," that you can borrow or buy. Great reading. Plus, great for college and beyond.
4) Be responsible when you go out. Have fun, but stay safe and have an accountability partner. If stuff goes crazy, get out.
5) Start saving regularly, starting with $1000 that you don't touch (except for an emergency). Add $1000 every year. Just under $84 per month! When you get a better job, save 15% if you can.
6) Small purchases (under $100): before purchasing something you don't need, ask yourself how many hours it will take for you to buy it.
7) Larger purchases: ask yourself if you can afford it twice and if you needed it yesterday.
8) Give 10% of your gross pay to your church. If you don't go to church, give it to a charity.
9) Don't spread yourself thin over your schedule.
12) Colleges (and some jobs) love volunteering and internships.
13) Exercise at least 45 minutes per week. It'll make a difference.
13) Take up an artistic or musical skill. You don't have to be a virtuoso, but this helps round you out a bit, plus it exercises your mind.
14) Remember that discipline is not a d word. It's simply practice for when the real thing happens!
14) Take a little time to read something fun!
15) Be brave, but know you cannot succeed on your own. Get help if you need it, no matter how embarrassing it feels. You're always and forever loved.
16) Take time to have fun. It's a tough serious world out there, it's nice to break the tension every so often.
I know this was super long, and I don't know how much of this you do already, but these are just some concepts that I wished I fully understood when I was your age.
Have a wonderful Birthday, Lacey! Best of luck to you! 💝