Don’t Underestimate the Teenager


Allison Burback, Staff Writer

Teenagers today are viewed quite harshly in society’s eye. Supposedly, we are a lazy, sleep all day, complaining group of adolescents. While I do agree with the sleep all day part, I believe that teenagers have an unjust reputation in today’s culture. We are strong and independent semi-adults, trying to find our place in the world.

To most, teenagers can be seen as shallow and snotty older children. They have a reputation of being conceited and their emotions are as complex as, “Judy stole my boyfriend  and that makes me angry.” As an official sixteen year old, I can tell you that teenagers have a greater emotional range than that. Sure, we might get upset over the small things sometimes, but who doesn’t? My mom gets mad when the nail polish she wants to wear is empty and my dad gets furious when the lawn mower won’t start on the first try.

With the amount of change and hormones raging within our bodies, teenagers feel every type of emotion. We feel depressed and heartbroken and enraged and irritated and joyful and ecstatic, just like adults. The difference is we are still maturing and learning how to cope with these feelings. Teenagers are perceived as immature, but truly we are just trying to figure out how to handle things as adults, which takes some practice.

Not only are teenagers seen as superficial, but we are also seen as whiners. Whenever I say how stressed out I am to a middle aged person the response I get 100% of the time is, “What do you have to be stressed out about?” My answer every time? Plenty.

My typical day consists of waking up at 5:30 AM, getting ready, and of course attending school until 3:00 in the afternoon. After that, it’s immediately off to soccer practice where I don’t stop running until roughly 6 PM. Next, there is dinner and then the glorious four hours of homework. I get to bed around midnight and know I will get to do everything over again in five and a half hours.

On top of my jam packed schedule, I have to worry about having a social life, how much exercise I’m getting, if I’m going to do well on the test that determines 15% of my grade tomorrow, whether I will be able to maintain my GPA and get into a good college, if my hair looks good, how much money I have, and a plethora of other things that constantly occupy my mind. Adolescents have to deal with a gigantic amount of pressure in everyday life, just as adults do.

The teen years no longer deserve to be seen as an unfortunate blip between childhood and adulthood. Teenagers are dealing with new experiences and have to juggle school, sports, work, family, and friends. It’s a challenging time in everyone’s life, but it is not justified for adults to write adolescents off as monsters anymore. Teenagers are simply adults in training and just need a little support to carry them through years 13-19.