It might sound like a simple thing but if I had a dime every time I heard of a good kid do something stupid I would be flying to Bali every other weekend for a vacation. All it takes is one night out with some friends to turn your whole life upside down. I'm not saying not to have a good time but getting caught drinking and driving or caught carrying some dank, mary jane, molly, dope, ganja, or whatever the kids are calling it these days. Getting caught stealing, doing or carrying drugs, or even getting into a physical alteration and having assault charges can put a roadblock between you and you achieving your goals.
I had two felonies between the ages of 11-13. While I still made it through my decisions at that young of an age affected me for a couple decades of my life. I had to work 10 times harder than the next guy to even qualify for enlistment. Which I could have saved so much time, money, and energy if I would have focused on bettering myself and the ones around me.
2. Stay In School!
When I finished the 10th grade I was working 2 jobs making 4k-7k a month. As you can imagine that is an astronomical amount of money for a 16-year-old. When it came time to go back to school it just seemed stupid for me to go back, so I got my GED and kept tracking on putting cash in my pocket. Once I tried to join they laughed (for several reasons) one of which was my GED. I had to go back to school and get 12 college credits which put my enlistment date another 6 months in the future at a minimum.
Needless to say, stay in freaking school! Study the ASVAB and get a GT Score of 110 or higher. If you do this you will qualify for some of the top positions in the military to include Marine Recon and Marine Special Operations Command.
3. Don't Do Drugs!
I know what you are saying.. "But Nick, It's just a little weed or a beer or two." Yea, I hear you, I was that age as well. It comes down to is it worth you losing the opportunity you have worked so hard for? If it is not then you are not ready for the commitment to be a United States Marine. Hate it, disagree with it, or any of your other personal beliefs don't matter. The Marine Corps has a strict policy on drug use. If you have used in the past then you can get a waiver for "experimental use" that is if they already know about it, if you catch my drift.... Stay focused on your goals and what your future has to offer you. Don't let a little peer pressure ruin your life.
Wait until you are a salty, seasoned veteran to experience those things (In a state that it is legal of course).