Every other day I get home from dance class at ten thirty p.m. Five minutes later I share a southern meal with my family. We eat together, discussing our days for about half an hour. Then at eleven, I begin my homework. Sometimes my work load is light, and I’m able to fall asleep by twelve. Other times I end up studying till three in the morning. Finally, when I get to collapse in my bed for some personal time, a hurricane of worries swirls violently around my head. How am I ever going to make it through this?
Many people feel that they understand what it’s like to be a teenager in 2008, yet they fail to realize how times have changed. Teenagers now have a larger work load than ever before. Already, we are carrying bricks on our shoulders that will soon leave scars. We are expected to maintain impressive GPA’s while being an active member in school clubs and time consuming extracurricular activities. At the same time, many of us feel the pressure to be as slender as a toothpick. Sometimes I feel like I am stuck in a gaping hole with walls caving in around me. I want to cry and give up everything. That’s when my mother opens my eyes.
Every night at eleven, while my nose is caught between two pages of an algebra book, my mom stands silently in the corner of the kitchen. At first she seems to be finishing a load of laundry before bed. Then, two more hours pass by, and she is still there. After another hour I have moved on to biology homework. My mother is still there. As I finally close my book, she tells me, “You’re a plugger, honey. You always push through.” She kisses me good night and we both stray off to our lonely beds.
I believe in the power to push forward. Too often I forget that I am not the only one in this world with hurtles to jump over. 5,000 teenagers commit suicide every year. Most of these young adults kill themselves because they think they are alone in a mosh pit of stress and critique. If only these teenagers knew that they are never alone. My mother’s encouraging voice, that always tells me to keep pushing forward, motivates me to keep running on every last ounce of fuel I’ve got because I know it will all be worth it in the end. If I choose to end my journey on earth now I will never know what I missed out on.
I believe that there is a small spark in every teenager’s heart. Many of us give in to today’s pressures, smothering the spark before it gets the chance to grow. We all simply need to recognize that everyone is in the same position together, and we all have people rooting for us. Knowing this, we can be more motivated to push forward and help that spark transform into a prosperous flame.