Adults, you aren’t the only ones stressed. Between the fun-filled days of childhood and the freedom from our parents that youth spend 18 years imagining, is a dark time called the teen years. It is filled with impossibly high expectations, peer pressure, and learning self-identity through and despite all of this.
As I write this, my phone is going off every five minutes with reminders for the three articles I still need to do, the two tests I need to study for, the advertising campaign for the Roc City Skate Park I really need to get going on (I wonder if that link counts as a start?), and the web site I still need to design for class. Also, on my schedule: two eleven hour work shifts for the weekend and a quick hour with my mom to reconnect. Just chalk me up with the other 85% of young people who feel stressed, according to a recent survey done by the Associated Press and MTV. It is just simply becoming harder for teens to juggle the expectations being forced upon them.
“I see students everyday who are stressed,” said Jamie Salatino, Guidance Counselor at School Without Walls Commencement Academy. She lists time management, a sense of being overwhelmed by school/personal responsibilities, a fear of what comes after high school, and general relationship problems with friends, families and significant others as the more prevalent stressors. Tack onto it dealing with impoverished homes, broken homes/families, and even health issues for some and one should quickly begin to wonder just how students are able to manage carrying such a heavy weight on our shoulders- and just how is the rest of the world able to pretend as if it isn’t there?
I hate to break it to the adults, but sometimes we do as much, if not more, than they do. We are also dealing with that rocky job market, when we are seeking part-time employment or when we are changing our plans of study in college to better our chances of employment when graduate. Sometimes we raise children, and sometimes they’re not even ours. They are our brothers and sisters who needed help with homework or a comforting word, or in worst case scenarios, depended on us for dinner that night.
When Celine Anderson, 18, was 13 years old her mother became sick and had to be hospitalized for three months, Anderson had to help take care of her 9-year-old sister. She didn’t get a chance to truly worry over her mother because she had to be strong for her and her sister. However, her grades dropped. Now, Anderson is in college studying Journalism, working part-time to supplement her tuition, and working for The Reporter, the campus’ newspaper. However, her grades have dropped again as she made the transition from high school to college.
“I’ve been through a lot worse,” she told me. It’s how she keeps herself going. Youth are now juggling: friends, family, significant others, school, work/employment, extracurricular activities, and a very heavy increase of social pressures, while also walking across a tightrope that hovers over the pit of failure many of our own friends and family have fallen into. For all of the youth reading this, that probably just made it worse, huh? But it’s nice to put things in perspective and go from there…at least that’s what my adult mother said (emphasis on the adult part.)
Jamie Salatino’s suggestion to stressed students: “Keep people who have known you for a long time around because they can remind you that you had a similar stress/event and made it through.”
I agree wholeheartedly and I’d like to add: keep being amazing, every single one of you. Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”
My name is Tianna and this message is Superkid approved.