The best advice I would give to 18-year-old Jia would be to tell my parents to STFU and that it's my life and no, they are not going to bully me into going into college right away. I wish I had taken a shit job, lived in an apartment, dicked around for a year or two, and then when that became boring and I had more time to think about it, I would be more serious about school, what I wanted and have more direction in my life.
I think parents of a certain generation are brainwashed into believing that college is 100% THE ANSWER and that by getting a 4-year or more degree degree is THE WAY (and only way) to achieve any sort of decent life. It is complete bullshit, and people here have already discussed why. It also sucks trying to convince parents of this, when they can easily threaten to cut you off or kick you out if you don't do what they
want you to do with your
It took me 6 years to get my 4 year degree precisely because I was waffly for the first 2 years, not knowing exactly what I wanted, changing degrees, and just "going with the flow".
Not to say I didn't have fun in the meantime, but looking back I think rushing myself because my parents were pressuring me was a waste of my time and ultimately their precious money.
Of course, the flip side will be watching your friends go off to college while you stay behind to carve a different path - or not, you could always go apply for a dream internship right away, you don't need to go through a school official to do that! I think I was programmed to think that college = success, and no college = failure, but I wish I could go back in time and open my eyes to other opportunities that neither my highschool nor parents considered viable options. (And therefore, I didn't think about.)