Youth is wasted on the young


Tracy Nelson (left photo) and Ali Johnson (right photo)

Senior Julia Gibson, contrasts changes between being young and then growing up.

Julia Gibson, Feature and Entertainment Editor

   Adults say “don’t wish away time” and “enjoy your younger years,” but do we really understand them before it is too late? As a kid, all I wished for was to grow up and dream of the day I would get to be a senior in high school. Then, senior year arrived and everyone was ordering their cap and gowns while stressing out over college applications. Then the thought hits me, the bittersweet moment when I realized that this is my last year with all the kids I have grown up with and spent most of my time with for the past thirteen years. 

   As kids, we long to be grown and glamorize the idea of our high school years, only to grow up and wish to be young and carefree again. People have set unrealistic expectations of what their senior year is going to be like, and this comes from movies glamorizing the high school experience. Disney movies like the High School Musical series show high schoolers having fun all the time and don’t show any realistic parts of high school. Such as managing a job, social life, and more responsibilities than they’ve ever had. Upon entering high school, students are hit with the reality that they’re slowly approaching the end of their childhood and will soon have to “grow up.” Pressure builds up for students as they try to make sure everything is “perfect” and that they aren’t wasting a single moment. 

   While people say these are the “best days of your life,” high school could also be considered some of the most stressful. Each class students take and each decision they make affects their future. Underclassmen are adjusting to being in a different environment while dealing with the stress of creating a “perfect transcript” to one day send to colleges. Upperclassmen are encouraged to take as many college classes as possible, so while filling out college applications, they are also adjusting to this new workload that they have not had before. 

   Every kid longs to make their parents proud. Parents encourage their kids to go out and enjoy being a kid while also expecting them to do well in school. Finding a balance between the two is difficult because of school and life expectations. Students are expected to participate in community service, extracurriculars, do their homework, and having a job all while being told to “just be a kid.” This forces students to decide to excel in school or enjoy their younger years before graduation. 

   Once students hit junior year, they gain a huge responsibility; a driver’s license. This newfound freedom fills teenagers with excitement and gives them a sense of maturity they haven’t had before. Although they still have laws holding them back, the curfew for teenagers is 12 am and they can’t have more than one non-family passenger in the car for their first year of driving. Along with taking on driving a lot of teens get a job and now have to balance working a job while still in school. Teens get a small taste of what “adulting” is like, and the urge to grow up increases. We look forward to having no restrictions and when we can do whatever we want. 

   Being the oldest in the school and the class that the underclassmen look up to is a big responsibility. Whether or not we plan to attend college, senior year still holds a lot of pressure to it. Making sure we have each graduation requirement while figuring out our life plan is stressful. Along with the built-up pressure for future plans, we are also trying to make the most of every moment as we are approaching graduation and the end of our high school days. 

   Different activities students participate in throughout high school can serve as an outlet for them to reduce stress. A lot of high schools have spirit days along with pep rallies in order to help increase school spirit and give students an opportunity to just remember that school can be fun too. Louisa has done a spirit video where students spent the whole day getting to show school spirit for their club, sport, or grade level. The Lion Pride Run is another student run activity that plays a big role in the community that helps remind everyone how proud they should be to be a part of their community.

   But the truth is, we don’t need to be perfect. Life has imperfections and high school is about making mistakes and learning from them. As we learn more about ourselves, we then make actions that reflect ourselves and not our parents. 

   As I start to gain more responsibilities and get closer to shifting into a new phase of life, I think about how I wish I could go back to being a little kid again. Throughout my teenage years, I do things that make me feel like a kid again to bring back that carefree phase of life. Between binge-watching old tv shows during school breaks and looking forward to playing in the snow during snow days both make me feel like a kid again. Teens take a lot of time for granted. We’re always looking for the next big stage in life like finally being a teen, driving, and then becoming an adult. Only for us to get to these major moments and then we immediately start anticipating the next big step. We need to remember to live in the present and not wish away our younger years, as we’ll eventually regret it and want nothing more than to be a child again.