To be a Teenager in 21st Century America

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To be a Teenager in 21st Century America

Myasiah Bilola, Abagail McKnight, Loveth Ajayi, Chariyah Woods, Toyin Alade, Daylon Duncan

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The following is a  collaboration of “Student Thoughts on Growing Up American”:

To grow up today is a bit of a different world than the one our parents and teachers grew up in. Whether their own adolescent years seem like forever ago or yesterday, here’s what it’s like for us to grow up today in 21st Century America…

Being a teenager is striving for perfection and losing ourselves along the way, only to discover who we truly are. Each failure becomes a weight tied to us, reminding us of the ways we haven’t succeeded yet.

Our emotions are everywhere. We feel tempted easily to fit in and to grow up sooner. Everyone isn’t our friend and we have to watch who we surround ourselves with so we don’t end up influenced in the wrong ways.

Pressure is everywhere! It doesn’t only come from our peers, but adult pressure and expectations from our parents and teachers are meant to encourage us to rise to the challenge of adulthood, but too many times they make us feel like we aren’t good enough. School can be difficult with so many demands and so little time to get it all done. Parents and teachers expect so much from us and think we can handle it all!

Love is another new challenge of adolescence as we reach new highs of bliss and happiness only be brought back down by hatred and unconcerned behaviors of others. The hate of the world is blasted at us through the never-ending flow of information that comes at us daily from the technical devices that are constantly at our fingertips.

Technology has taken over our generation. Our phones alert us on a daily basis of all the dangers lurking out there in the supposed “real world” that awaits us. Our brains are overloaded with distractions everywhere.

We talk to each other behind a screen where cyberbullying has become the new norm. We feel judged too harshly too often. Are we pretty enough? Are we good enough? Did enough people like our post? Is anything ever enough?

At times we fear what the world is becoming. Modern media reminds us of the constant threats and dangers that seem to lurk at every corner waiting to consume us. The threat of school shootings and racial tensions across the country have cloaked our adolescent experience in a darkness we wonder if we’ll ever be capable of destroying.

Sometimes we feel constantly scared. Scared to know what the future holds when there’s so much hate sometimes. Scared when epidemics like the opioid crisis is a flashing warning of danger. Will the poisons of society corrupt our minds someday?

As we grow in this ever-changing world, we learn to adapt to change, to understand ourselves and others better. We learn how to control ourselves and our time better. In the end though, one of the most important things is that we’ve learned from our journey of adolescence and embrace who we’ve become with the hope that maybe when we become a part of the adult world we can make it a better place.

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