I'm only a junior in high school, but I think that what I have to say is important. I'm tired of grown-ups always thinking we don't know what the "real world" is. They tend to think that all we do is go to school, talk on the phone, and goof off with our friends. Being a teenager these days is not that easy. There are a lot of other things that revolve around us and our lives. So we may not get up at 5 a.m. to go to work, and we don't pay the bills, but going to school can be just as hard. We also have the problems of drugs, alcohol, sex and AIDS, peer pressure, problems of dealing with our friends and lots of other things.
The thing I hate the most is when I'm on the phone and my grandparents and my mom think that what I am saying is not important. That whatever it is can wait till school. How do they know! I could be talking to a friend whose dog died, or a friend who is upset enough to think about suicide and I am trying to comfort them (things like that do happen to kids). Or I could be getting a homework assignment. It is important to us, even if it's about who did this, or who said that. It means something to us, just like supporting themselves and a family is to them. So I don't pay for things we need (like the food, the new washing machine when it breaks, etc.), and I don't do all those "grown-up" things, but do they have to study for tests, take SATs, deal with a fight with a friend, or get grounded for speaking your mind? Our lives are suited to us, as theirs is to them. If we are not in the so-called "real world," then where the heck are we? Children and teenagers have just as many worries and expectations as adults do.
So when a grownup starts telling you "Wait until you live in the real world," tell them, "The real world is my life now!" We are just at a different stage of it. We have a few more steps to take before we reach where they are. I am in the real world and nobody can tell me different. n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.