When I sit in class and try to learn, I find it hard to concentrate. What if cheerleading runs over and I am late for my dress fitting? Why did I wear leggings two days in a row? That girl looks nice in her dress. I wish my mom would text me back so I know what is for dinner. A thousand things run through my head. Throughout high school I think each and every one of us is trying to find a way to juggle activities, please our parents and just try to fit in. Being a teenager has become a pretty intense situation.
If you aren’t in basketball, then you better play softball. If you aren’t playing soccer, you might as well cheer football season. Also, you can’t forget to sign up for drama club, student council, science club, and health careers club. As high school students, we are encouraged to take on an overwhelming number of extracurricular activities. You have to do something, or you feel like you’re nothing. Being an athlete, which in my case means being a cheerleader, is extremely stressful. It’s always a competition. When you’re out cheering with your team, you’re a family, and it’s a memorable feeling. You’re trying to outperform the opposing cheerleaders with your best friends. Then practice rolls around on Monday and you remind yourself you have to beat your best friend out of the spot you want in the formation. Not to mention coach is yelling at you for not hitting your stunt perfectly, not pointing your toes. When practice is finally over, you can go home and plan homecoming for student council. We can’t do it all, but we’re expected to. It’s stressful. I know that every teacher, coach, and parent went through trying to fit everything in. But it is so much more stressful today. So much more pressure is put on high schoolers.
Once you’re home eating dinner, Dad will ask you about school How was practice? You then explain to him that you got hit too hard, or your flyer fell on you or you got cleated. It’s really not fair because your parents want you to be the best. It’s like they expect you to not get hurt or expect you to not get yelled at during practice. We can’t help it. We are kids. Our parents just don’t understand. Sports weren’t as big of a deal when they were in high school. Coaches are harder; plays and stunts are harder. I truly do think that they try to understand, but they literally can’t. They don’t understand how hard they work us or how much it lowers our self-esteem when we get yelled at because honestly, it’s all just a competition. Of course your parents want you to win. Everyone’s parents think that their kid deserves so much more than everyone else’s kid and that their child is the best. I believe that deep down we want our parents—and our coaches—to appreciate us and our hard work, but they never really realize how much we put into our high school lifestyles.
To me, it is a relief to be home and just be able to play with my dog. I’m sure I worried about what shoes I wore with my outfit or that I still can’t get my eyebrows to match because someone decided girls should start coloring in their eyebrows. We worry ourselves too much and I know it’s because we all want to be liked. We are all dying to fit in. Regardless if the sport is too hard, we are going to try out even if it means standing on the sidelines because we just want to be a part of something. We would rather take the anxiety and the stress if it means fitting in.
Trying to be ourselves is harder than we ever thought. But then again, no one said it was easy. We are all trying to outdo each other. We want to be cool girl or cool guy. In all reality, who made those standards? Who said that coloring in your eyebrows is what you’re supposed to do now? As a senior in high school I think to myself, trying to play a sport, stay helpful in my clubs and do all my homework is hard enough. I sure do not need to worry about what other people are wearing or what I am wearing. At the end of the day we stress ourselves out over things that will not matter when we turn 30. But as of now it is important to us to be important to other people. We just want to be liked.
After I get done with practice and go home just to get yelled at, I try to remind myself that I did the best I could today. It’s hard to try to stay stable all day at school when you want to choke out a few of your friends at lunch or cow tip your teacher. People are always talking or giving a dirty look for no good reason. And that hurts our self-esteem even though it shouldn’t. We do our best in sports and try to join the clubs we can. I think we need to work on being ourselves at this point. We do what everyone else wants us to do so at the end of the day we should just do us and worry about ourselves for once. Society’s expectations will just have to wait.