Credit cards are awesome. I got my first one when I was 16 years old (my mom cosigned). As long as you don't abuse the credit cards, they're like a 1 month, interest-free loan. BUT, abuse them and they will reciprocate. Very analogous to what Slim said that fateful night sophomore year: "You've gotta respect the 151° or it will disrespect you" (or something like that).
Another benefit of the card is that you don't have to carry around much cash. Whether the expense is planned or unplanned, this is an advantage. If you lose cash for whatever reason it's gone. If you lose your card or someone fraudulently uses it, you won't bear the full cost. Glenn likes to point out that credit cards give rewards points which can be favorably redeemed. I've not enrolled in a super-beneficial rewards program, but I will acknowledge them as a definite benefit.
I also like to have all my monthly charges in one place for review. It's pretty cool to look at a statement and analyze your spending. In my high school days, I had mostly gasoline on there. At the beginning of the semester, it's mostly books. Sometimes I look and see that I'm spending way too much on entertainment.
My parents were my inspiration in seeking good credit for myself. I was inspired by the way they can always negotiate the most favorable terms due to their good credit (how good is it? I couldn't say any more than "good enough"). Since they want the best for me, they were willing to help me get my own credit card once I started driving. Having that 2-year jump on most people in building my credit history has been very helpful, along with conscientious timely payment. According to Experian, my credit score is in the 89th percentile of US consumers. Such placement is exceptional since I know that my income is not in the 89th percentile, nor is my credit history very old.