The Art of Growing Up

November 3, 2009
By thoughtsinflight BRONZE, McFarland, Wisconsin
thoughtsinflight BRONZE, McFarland, Wisconsin
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

What if there was a special list of important things we all needed to do in order to grow up? What if that list was the same for everyone? What would happen? Luckily, no such list exists, because growing up is more than just a simple series of hoops to jump through and things to experience. It takes a long time and is an extremely difficult thing to do; some might even consider it an art form. Society tends to program teenagers to think that in order to grow up we have to do certain things. However, everyone grows up differently and at their own pace. Once we realize that doing things differently is acceptable, we can begin what’s truly important.

Growing up means many things; however, it doesn’t mean going along with everyone else. The world and the media tell us that all teens hate their parents, experiment with drugs, and get into trouble. It’s what makes us teens. In reality, that’s not really a requirement. Being a teen simply means you’re at a certain age and making the transition from childhood into adulthood. While it’s true that many teens do fit into the world’s stereotype, many don’t and that is definitely acceptable, even better in most cases. However, even though going against that stereotype is beneficial, it can subject us to ridicule by our peers and even by adults. Nonetheless, we need to do what we feel is truly right for us, rather than what we think we have to do because of our age. That’s a big part of growing up; if you can’t be your own person, you aren’t yet an adult.

Another fixation society programs us for are all the rites of passage during high school. From prom to Driver’s Ed., first date to first job, these are all things that we’re supposed to do. But what if you don’t like dancing? What if you’re too busy to get a job or you’re scared of driving? Do you have to do it, simply because it’s commonly done? You don’t, because high school is all about finding out who you are, not how to be like everyone else. If you don’t want to go to the prom, but you want to go to the homeless shelter to volunteer, do it! If you’d rather bike than drive, it’s much better for the environment anyway. Be the one to set the example and do your own thing. Don’t do anything for the sake of doing it, or because it’s something someone told that you just have to do. If it’s not right for you, then you shouldn’t be participating.

The most important point teens need to know is that we truly are important. Although a bit younger than lots of people, we have done some serious growing. It may not make us experts, but we do have meaningful things to say and they should be said without fear of ridicule. Once that fear is gone, we can finally be able to share our thoughts, and those thoughts can start making an impact. The time has come for us to step out into the world and be an influence on the society that influences us. We have the capability; all that’s left is the belief that we can do it.

The world tells us that who we are should be based on our age, but we need to tell the world that we’re all different and will not fit into their stereotypes. We need to show others that there is not one road through high school, there are millions of them, and each one is as unique as we are. Together, we can change the world so that everyone feels accepted to be their own person and find their own way, because that is what growing up truly is.

The author's comments:
I wrote this piece for my AP Composition class. It is my hope that it might inspire you to break through stereotypes, do your own thing, and be your own person.

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