Now that you have established yourself, there are some preliminary choices you need to consider. Like what college you'll attend, your political party, a religious affiliation (or not), the professional sports teams you follow, and what shoes to wear. The culture you were born into is one of extreme categorization (sorry, it's true). When you pick a category and claim allegiance, like minded cohorts will begin opening doors. All of your information will come from radical preferred sources, and you'll be expected to think and act like the group acts.
People will judge you first on your looks (shoes), then on your association with groups. Slap an Oakland Raider sticker on your stroller next time through the mall and watch the reaction if you doubt it's true. So don't take these decisions lightly. But no worries, you can change groups. Members of Congress do it all the time.
There are state colleges, prestige colleges, party colleges, nerd colleges, art colleges, God colleges, and lots more. They pretty much all teach the same things, but people in groups look at the initials on the piece of paper with a prejudiced view. If what you want to do in life depends on your class rank amongst snoots, then by all means, borrow the two hundred grand. Otherwise, pick a place with a program that excites you, a pretty campus, and a social setting where you'll make friends for life. For now you can just pick a school with a mascot that resembles a character on your crib mobile.
When you choose a political party (doesn't matter which), the important thing to remember is to never compromise. Loyalty to your politics outweighs any feigned concern for the country as a whole. Gray area discussions are not allowed. Independent thinking is holding our country back. I'm not saying it's right, it just is.
You probably should just attend the church your folks go to for a while. Saves on fuel. Plus you learn in detail the rituals and traditions of a faith that you can enjoy, and when you need it, fall back on. Don't ever forget, though, that there are branches within every religion who do things differently, and lots of people in entirely different religions across the world, and good people who have no faith at all. And all of those groups are more similar than some would have you know.
Now Nora, I've known a few people who refused to let their associations define them. It didn't matter to them if people thought their shoes were cool, or they went to an uppity school, or if political or religious leaders ranted in their behalf. They were too busy with their life work. That doesn't mean they weren't fun, or thinking, or involved; they just weren't followers of patterned thought. It's a consideration.
As for me, like most of America, I just want to be associated with a winner, whether or not I am one. For a few years there, most of the groups I gave my heart to were losing, and it was difficult. The Denver Broncos alone made me a shameful recluse, and it was too much work to swap loyalties. (I was close)
Anyway, text me a list when you gather your affiliations. I'll stock up on t-shirts and bumper stickers, because I'm a big follower of yours. Periodically, I'll record a thought. You do the same. K