Being a teen is about making mistakes,
To find out what it takes,
To take care of your self, and what you’ll need,
And petting the rabbit, you parents always remember to feed.
Being a teen is about growing up and exploring who you are,
Not about planning your life, but dreaming you’re a star.
Live in the present, don’t let your past being you down,
Just be a teen, don’t let the future psych you out.
I’m graduating this Thursday. And it’s scary. I’m starring the rest of my life, as well as the real world in the face. Old memories constantly flood my mind, it’s like this one moment, a moment that might mean nothing in 6 months, is the end of my life, and everything will come full circle.
I’m remembering things from years past, both painful memories, and happy ones. The happy ones hurt me more because I grieve the loss of those moments, and I am now coming to realize that a lot of stuff I did in high school probably won’t happen in college. For example, watching hot guys jump off the roof, making music in between classes, and tickling my friends while the teacher lectures us on the war of 1812.
Bitterness and sadness envelop me, but also a hope for a brighter future. It’s so hard seeing your whole life ahead of you and wondering if anything will work out. But if something is easy, it probably isn’t worth doing. Except sleeping. Sleeping’s easy, and it’s totally worth doing.
This week, I’m talking about summer. Believe it or not, without school occupying your time and thoughts, you’re actually in a lot more danger than you think.
I’ll first address several of the physical and more obvious dangers that a teen faces in the summer. For one, partying in the summer gets crazy. With no school, there’s nothing else to do for some kids but party, and it’s an obvious issue that these teens can and will be exposed to alcohol and other drugs. Coming from someone who has never taken part in these activities, but has been offered, I’m telling you, just say no. Underaged drinking and even just drinking in general are dangerous activities, as is drug use. And definitely don’t get in a car with anybody who’s drunk, especially if they’re driving. Alcohol is actually the most prevalent drug problem in America. On top of drunkenness causing a lot of problems including disorientation and loss of judgment skills, it can also cause the brains of teens to develop slower in the long term, so be very conscious of that, and again, just say no. Besides those dangers, there’s always the danger of alcohol poisoning. Trips to the emergency room will hella tick off the ‘rents.
Another problem drug is Marijuana. No matter how safe you think that drug is, the more sober you are, the safer you are, period. Abstaining from all drugs will decrease your chance of rape, injury, and trouble with the law. Even if Marijuana’s effects don’t hurt you, you could get in serious trouble for being found with it, or having it in your system.
Another thing to think about is the danger of skin cancer caused by excessive sun exposure in the summer. It may not even happen until you’re older, but if it does, skin cancer can become a serious problem. So just wear sunscreen – nowadays, you don’t even have to rub it in if you use the spray-on kind. And if you wear sunscreen, you don’t get sunburns, and that means painless make out sessions! (See: What Makes a Good Kiss for more on that topic.)
Another part of your body that might be in danger of the summer virus is: Your brain. Your brain is a muscle just like another. If you don’t try to even stay a little sharp, you might have to do some stuff over that’s a waste of time. So just read a book every once in a while even if it’s just an R.L. Stein. The smarter you are, the more successful you can be. Plus, some people hella dig nerds, in that case read an encyclopedia and not a Magic Tree House.
Drinking/Marijuana: Say no. Be yourself.
Sunburns: Wear sunscreen and put it on your BF/GF’s to keep the “OW” out of make out.
Stay Sharp: Read a book, keep your mind working at its most efficient and maybe you’ll score someone who likes super sexy nerds!
Does anyone remember Kim Possible? How about Pokémon Red, Yellow and Blue? If you’re a teen, you probably do. Do you feel old now?
All of those things are coming back into style, in a way, because the generation that grew up with those things is now going into high school and college, and some of the members of that generation are even graduating into he real world. Isn’t it nice to think back on all the great stuff we had growing up? Remember when we were the Rugrats? And now we’re Hey Arnold. Remember Codename: Kids Next Door? As of this year, the last of the 90s-born generation would be leaving the KND for good.
Bringing back the past is something we do to comfort ourselves, and remind us of a more magical time. A time where we could fight dragons in our head and pretend we had super powers instead of stressing on whether or not we’re going to get the college that we need, or whether our resumes are sufficient.
It’s nice to just sit back and remember the enjoyment we found as kids, to watch old cartoons, to talk with people who remember, to run into a teacher you had as a child, to just take a breath of air from the past, and to remember it before it was the past. To live in the sweet past for just a moment, makes us stronger to face the future. Nothing will ever feel as good as being a child again, if only for a little while.
Graduation, both into and out of high school, is a time for change in every teen’s life. When you come into high school, you officially become a teenager, and when you finish high school, you become an adult. There are scary parts of graduation, though. It’s especially scary to think about how everything is going to change and you don’t know how everything will work after the dust has cleared. Non-graduating grades wonder what people will hang out with them after their original friends graduate. On the other hand, graduates wonder if they will get accepted to the colleges of your choice, and even just whether they’ll be successful or not.
It’s scary, and it’s hard, and no one who’s older remembers how it feels or understands. But deep down inside, everyone’s excited, because in a situation where everyone knows change is going to occur, there is some semblance of control, because they can change it for the better. And everybody wants to see what goodness may come of it. So if you’re graduating, be happy, revel in your success, and try to cling to your excitement because your fear will drag you down and drown you.
Dive head first into a job, or college. Don’t look back and wonder “what if.” Grab life by the horns and grill the bull. Remember, people usually regret what they didn’t do more than what they did do. Celebrate your success so you have the energy and drive to push towards the dreams you have for your life.
Graduation is, at the same time, scary, exciting, and a huge change, so don’t dwell on what you’re losing. Think more of what you’re gaining.
Previous articles have depicted teens as role models for other kids, but who do teens look up to?
Most of the time, no matter how hard you try, it’s not parents.Teens may look up to people of their parent’s age group maybe.But a teen will rarely want to be like someone who has tried to be their parent or is their parent. As a teen we struggle to fit right into our own body, we don’t need anyone telling us how to do it, we want to learn how to do it.
Parents are bothersome. No matter how cool you are, you’re still a bother if you’re a parent. When you have a child, you reach a mental stage of development that far exceeds that of a teen, so it’s hard to be empathetic and be atour level when you know so much. But when you’re a teen, there’s so much you don’t know, like who you are and what matters. So cut us some slack and be who you want us to be, don’ttellus who we should be. It helps us to learn when see it in action. Have you ever learned how to do something by just watching someone else? That’s modeling. If you want to make your teen a better person, be a better person, it’ll benefit society as a whole. All teens might not be conscious of what is going on, but they can’t call you a hypocrite when you ask them to live up to the standards you raised yourself to.
For all the teachers, musicians, mechanics, uncles, aunts, grandmas, older siblings, and the like, listen up. Being a model isn’t that hard if you’re a good person. But if you know that you have great lapses in judgment, hide that from a teen because it will be seen as acceptable, and therefore trap them in the never-ending cycle you’re stuck in. Sometimes, teens are models for other teens.The kid at the top of the class, for example, is someone who is always looked up to by those who want to better themselves. Knowing you’re a model can seem like a lot of responsibility, but if you’re a good person then society benefits double because someone is falling into you’re mold.
I go to a very small school, so I know everyone’s business. I talk to people about their home life, their parents, what they want out of life, everything. But one strange issue I keep finding is: parents sometimes discourage their kids to go to school.
One of my friends is currently only doing school half days, even though he wants to be a full time student. The teachers advised the student’s mother, telling her that he should come to school less in order to keep him out of trouble, even though he actually wants to come to school. It doesn’t make much sense to keep him out of school in order to keep him out of trouble. That’s like keeping a meth addict out of rehab, since high school graduation rates in California are quite low, only 78.5%. What happened to the other 21.5%? It might have been for other reasons, but some fraction must have been tired of fighting their parents to go to school.
Another one of my friend’s parents said, “A GED is just as good as a high school diploma.” They actually tried to get their kid to drop out of high school to get a GED which is not as good as a diploma.
Not all parents discourage learning and academia though… One student said “My parents increase my allowance if my grades are high.” Rewards for high grades are a very good idea, especially if they make the student improve.
Some parents may give things like high-grade rewards, but other necessary things like a ride to school are sometimes hard for the student to obtain, and if they live far out of town they’re not getting to school without a ride. School is important, and what kids do at this age in their life will follow them for the rest of it. If you’re a parent (and by parent, I mean legal guardian), be dependable. I’m 16 years old, and I know what I need: encouragement, resources, and dependability. Never tell us school is a bad thing, because you will never learn something you don’t need to know. You shouldn’t have to fight for what you deserve, especially if it’s encouragement.
Who am I? I ask sometimes,
I try to fit into cliques, and try to find mine,
I’m a skater, I’m a rocker, I’m a nerd, I’m a hick,
Why can’t I be me? What’s with this?
I like color, I like black,
Some say I’m skinny, some say I’m fat,
But what am I really? What could I be?
Why must I be described? Why can’t I just be me?
Because I’m not good enough, some could argue,
But you are not me, you are you,
So how do you know who I am?
Can you know and do everything that I can?
No you can’t, only I can,
So let’s make a deal, you be you, and I’ll be who I am,
I’ll say my own words, and walk in my shoes,
You’ll listen to me and I’ll listen to you.
But here’s something interesting, let’s also agree,
That my feelings are mine and all about me,
You can’t make me feel, only I can,
Let’s make a deal, you be you, and I’ll be who I am
Most teenagers are still trying to figure out who they are. But with other people calling us both positive and negative names, it just makes it all the more confusing. So just to clear it up, no one but you can tell you who you are. When you get called a name, or someone puts you down, they can’t possibly be accurate, because how would they know? Only you know who you are. Only you have power over your own life.
To confuse things even more, I think that sometimes, people don’t even realize what they’re saying to other people. Sometimes a word that is intended as an insult can actually be taken in a better, more positive way. Here’s a chart to help you understand.
Conceited Confidant, beautiful, wonderful, amazing
Crazy Creative, brave, and imaginative
Sensitive Caring and knowing how you feel (that’s a skill)
Don’t know when to give up A fighter, hardworking, persistent, and resilient
Loud You speak your mind
Attention Seeker Performer, actor, belongs on the stage
Insecure Sensitive, and considerate
Immature You know how to have fun
Gay Colorful, and happy
Nerd Smart, intelligent, enlightened, and knowledgeable
Jock Athletic, healthy and active
Pushy Ambitious, go getting, determined
Nosy/need to mind your own business You stand up against bullying and are strong
Emotionless You would be an awesome poker player
There’s always a positive side to look on. Almost every insulting word is really a positive word that is misunderstood by many teens. So really, don’t get offended by people that can’t speak English as well as they should. Teens especially don’t have the proper words to articulate what they have to say most of the time. Plus, the words they use are usually words that have been used against them at one point in time. They’ve been hurt, so they’re taking out their anger on you. But again, only you can know who you are.
Stop the bullying cycle. Have self-confidence.
If you’re ever sad, and you can’t really figure out why, consider that it might just be a lack of certain chemicals, called endorphins, being released in your body. Endorphins are hormones released in the body to control pain, and mood. You can release endorphins through exercise, smiling, and doing things you enjoy. Moods in teenagers can become crazy, illogical, and wild without a proper amount of released endorphins. Endorphins have been designed by evolution to make you happy, but at times it seems like society is designed to defy evolution by making everybody miserable and endorphin-less.
Sometimes it’s hard to get the endorphins flowing, though, because the fact is that it’s just plain hard being a teenager. There are so many things one has to do, and the time and stress management skills of a teenager are often still in development. In one of my earlier blog posts, the stress hormone called cortisol was mentioned. Cortisol causes negative effects in teenagers, like making you break out and gain weight. Endorphins can actually combat the cortisol hormone and its effects. So if you’re stressed out, especially if you know it’s pointless, try doing something you enjoy. Drawing, writing, exercise, and even just eating chocolate are some of the activities that can release the powerful endorphin hormones. (Chocolate Fridays! Start the movement!)
Now, being sad isn’t a disease, and it’s definitely not incurable. In fact, most people naturally get over any sadness, given enough time. But, if you just need a boost, and fast, just try doing a little dance and getting your heart beating a faster. It will cause a small “rush,” you could call it, that you can hold on to in order to turn your thinking around to the bright side. It’s hard enough being a teen, so there’s no need to be pointlessly sad or stressed all the time. So really, just always remember to be yourself, and don’t forget to smile.