Middle School

July 10, 2011
Middle school is all about stereotypes, being unpredictable, yet finding the time to label everything and everyone with one of the myriad of slang words used, or so a lot of adults think. Like America itself, middle school students are a mosaic of individuals. Everyone is different from the next, even if they try not to be. That’s what makes us, us. But we don’t get enough credit for celebrating everyone’s uniqueness. We do appreciate the differences we all bring to the table, but people do not often times see that. I have decided to write an essay in the way some adults perceive middle school students to be; stereotypical, close minded, and prejudiced against one another. One hundred percent of us are not like that at all. But the emotions associated with middle school students are pretty factual. That much is obvious, one minute we feel one way, and the next we feel another. It’s all part of who we are, and we all react differently and express ourselves differently.

Enter Jessica. Let me guess, you have an image in your mind of a blonde haired, bee-bop girl with that valley girl way of talk. Exactly right. That is this girl, alright. Right now, she is sobbing uncontrollably, perched on the edge of her bed. Then, her cell phone rings. Jessica stops crying and looks at her phone in disbelief and slowly opens it. “Hello?” she inquires. Like someone flipped a switch, a smile spreads across her face. Jessica jumps up and skips around the room, ecstatic.

Mercurial, right? Exactly. Our emotions are going crazy, and we are still trying to keep them under control. Sometimes we don’t deal with situations in the most effective way; our mood swings giving those around us “whiplash”. Have no fear; we are just as confused by it as you are. Before you get angry at some of the things we say, remember: if, after we yell something at you, we look dumbfounded and hurt, we didn’t mean it like you heard it. It was probably wrong of us, but we are trying to channel our emotions in a way we see the most effective. The adults have had plenty more time (no pun on age) for trial and error than we have had, so be patient, if possible.

Now meet Jared. J squared, his friends liked to call him. “J squared” was short for Jared the Jock. At the moment, he is entering a movie with a bunch of friends. He calls a girl who he had a fight with earlier. Apologizing, he asks her to be his “girlfriend” again. He hangs up after he hears how joyous he is. While walking into theatre number seven, he slings his arm around the shoulders of a girl who he has no interest in; he just feels the need to live up to his “player” standards. And not the type of player on the court or the field, the type of player on the battlefield of romance. Maybe we middle school kids are too immature to have actual relationships with others, but some are responsible and deal with it well. Others make a game out of it. But that is not the main thought in Jared’s head when the movie starts. He is worried about getting busted not for lying to his now “girlfriend”, but worried instead about how he is going to improve his game for state. Jared remembers his fellow teammate asking him to try some of the stuff he uses to play better. Jared knows steroids are wrong, but sometimes adolescents get put into positions when they don’t know how to say “no”. Sure, we can be taught a thousand and one times how, but when we are in the middle of a confrontation, it is difficult to remember anything but how to stay “cool”.

It is sad that the youth now is not as innocent as it used to be. The only pressures are not acing your tests or making the basketball team, they also include worries on how to get the test finished quicker and how to be the best at basketball. Students are not resorting to practice in these areas only. They are thinking some drugs will help them in a shorter period of time with better results. Oh how wrong some of us are. Failing one test will not kill you, but overdosing just might.

Ah, the model student. Julia wears conservative clothing, raises her hand in every single class, and wouldn’t know how to spell “demerit” or “tardy” if she hadn’t won the spelling bee multiple times. While other students are out with friends, or talking to friends, or thinking about friends, Julia is home studying for a test that will not occur for months. Her glasses slide down her nose, and she absentmindedly pushes them back into place. After a moment, Julia heads downstairs for a glass of milk. On her way back to her room, she pauses to grab a snack; a juicy green apple. Back upstairs she goes, thinking about James Madison, and curious about his writings that were included in a book of philosophy. She stops on the stairs when she sees a picture of her younger sister encircled by friends. Julia doesn’t have a lot of friends like her sister does. Sure, she has a few, but she is not popular. If only I was as popular as everyone else, Julia thinks to herself. Doesn’t she see how much she is loved just the way she is?

Lastly, let’s meet Jonathan. He is tall and lanky and has dark brown hair falling over his piercing eyes. His iPod is always with him, along with a notebook, sketch pad, and writing utensils. What a loser, kids murmur when he walks by. Jonathan sits by himself at lunch, looking down at his food with disgust for the world in which he cannot escape. He is very passionate and intelligent; he knows what he believes and he stands up for them. But no one gives him a chance to speak his mind, but if he did, everyone would be awed. A child that has something to say is not heard. No one cares to ask him how his day is going. Will people care when there isn’t a loner around to notice?

Being an adolescent is difficult. A complex web of life surrounds us and sometimes we get tangled up. Some of us get in too deep and are lost for good. Others have the chance to make a choice between what they know is right and wrong. Others are taking life to jokingly to have to worry about something serious. And then we have those others who don’t do anything worth noticing at all. There are also those students who don’t take after one type of person or another. In fact, almost no one does. This explains why we middle school students are so unpredictable. We must seem like we go on without a plan, but really we are just trying to figure out how to deal with it all. You know you are around a middle school student when you see a teen struggling not to cry, or a youth chatting excitedly on their cell phone. But don’t underestimate us; there is more to us than what you would expect.





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