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We, the teenagers of the world, are part of a desperate generation, where it feels as if everything is turning to s***. And I’m not saying that this whole age of mine is in entire disarray, but the evidence is seemingly on the table. The proof points to the majority of my peers: the ones sitting next to me in Physics class, or across from me in the lunch room, or smiling at me a row away in the bleachers.
I go to a Catholic high school, yet every Friday at the football games, I can smell the faint odor of marijuana in the kid in front of me’s hair. The water canteen that everyone is holding is full of something that isn’t water, and they have been drinking out of it since 11 o’clock this morning. But, the security guards that all our parents worked so hard to hire at our school are oblivious. They don’t even know that we all get in without paying through the woods to the left of the field. They’re completely oblivious to the fact that the kids shouting, “DEFENSE!” at the team is a group of drunken Catholic teenagers who get by like this every single Friday.
My friend recently was caught sneaking out of his house at 3 o’clock in the morning to go to a party that I wasn’t able to attend. Apparently his parents found an entire bottle of vodka rolling around on the passenger side of his Audi, but I wasn’t there. It’s just what I’ve been hearing. A best friend of mine just called asking for help in finding volunteer work because he got a minor over the weekend. I asked him what happened.
“I don’t know, man,” he muttered over the phone. “F*** the police.”
I didn’t know what to say to that, so I just said, “Yeah, f*** the police,” and then listed off a number of organizations he could fulfill his service hours at.
I want to keep listing off all these horrible things that are happening to my friends and the people around me in this life and even me, but it hurts my heart. It hurts me to think that my people, my peers, are killing themselves. We’re 16 years old, and this occurrence should not be happening. I don’t know how to stop it though.
I know that teenagers have been doing this since the beginning of time, and I know that they will continue to do it forever, but I hate it. I hate that the junior down the road is expecting a baby. I want to shake her and ask her if she’s proud of herself now that the rest of her life is screwed. Will she go to college? Will she get a steady job? Will she marry the father of her baby? Does she even know the father of her baby? I’m guessing she doesn’t.
The worst part is that even the good kids, the ones that seem to have a good head on their shoulders, are feeling the pressure to do it, too. Those kids that your parents say, “Oh, why can’t you be more like blah blah blah?” about are touching the canteen to their lips and wondering if just one sip will do anything. I mean, I’m writing this dumb thing and I even do it.
The pressure is real. It’s hammering down on all of us teenagers, and once we succumb to it, we make others succumb to it, too. It’s a cycle that never stops.
My friend who won the 2012 state tennis championship always used to tell me to not care about what everyone around us was doing, but to focus on the fact that one day, all those people would be working for us good kids. But, do you know what she is doing now? Every day after tennis, she smokes a bowl of marijuana. And every day she gets lousier and lousier at the sport that brought her so much glory less than a year ago. What happened to focusing on the fact that all the kids doing exactly what she is doing every day would work for her? Someone must have come along one day and told her that she should just take one little hit. She succumbed to it, that pressure that all of us teenagers feel, and then she thought, “Wow, this isn’t half bad. It’s not even affecting me.” But, in reality, it is affecting her. I see it affecting her every day.
That little teenager entering high school that worries about the pressure of drugs and alcohol and sex is in all of us, or it once was. The kid throwing up in the bush at a homecoming party still has that part of him inside him. He used to listen to his mom preach about not drinking before the legal age, but at a party his freshman year, he pretended to take a sip of beer to impress the upperclassmen. He ended up wanting a little taste after that pretend sip, so he did. And now he’s throwing up in a bush for the umpteenth time.
I know we’re all scared. I know we’re all worried that our lives will turn to s***. But still we drink and we smoke and we fornicate in a desperate attempt to live the teenage life that everyone around us is living. We need to stop.
But, how do we stop?