High School: Something Unexpected

MalikaVoices1There comes a time in one’s life, especially as a teenager, when everything, and I mean everything, just plummets down on you. School, grades, work, family, friends, competitions, sports, and responsibilities are all the norm in the life of today’s average high school student.

And you know, this is something that teenagers are given absolutely no credit for. Society still, after decades, portrays high school as being a completely different world filled only with cliques and scandals and parties. And yeah, there is all of that. But let’s be honest, that can be found everywhere from daycares to nursing homes.

The thing that is still recognized so minimally is that high school, NOW, is harder than ever before. And even I am just slowly starting to realize it! High school students today are overwhelmed with things that, honestly, we should not be burdened with.

To get into college 50 years ago, what did the majority of people have to do? Get good grades, right? For scholarships, people would play a sport and participate in an extracurricular activity.

Now, it’s completely different. Now, students feel compelled to take AP classes, be valedictorian, play a sport, do community service, get killer SAT and ACT scores, win a state title, be student body president, participate in five clubs, and more…JUST to get into the college of their dreams.

Malikavoices2Now, maybe it’s just me, but it feels that today’s college expectations of being a perfect, well-rounded student are much too high. It’s insane watching some of my peers put on so much stress, fearful that what they do is STILL too little. Sometimes, watching movies and scrolling on social media, I come across certain portrayals of high school and they are just so absurd that I laugh. Society has yet to realize that we are the generation that is working harder than ever before. We are the students who will, in years to come, be GROUNDBREAKING scientists, doctors, lawyers, politicians, journalists, and more because of the abyss of intense education.

It isn’t fair to simply say that teenagers, because of technology, are spoiled and “have it easy.” We may have iPads instead of textbooks and Wikipedia instead of encyclopedias, but see, we also have sophomores who are taking college-level physics. The depiction of high school as being a playground for daily fights and a sanctuary for social media and texting is wrong. We are much more than that. We are competitive and hardworking. We are trying to make it in a world where we are judged so easily. In any given situation, it’s easier to talk about what’s wrong. That’s why, little do we hear about what good high school students are doing, and rather, we hear about the few parties and arrests and bad decisions.

This article may have come across as being a sort of rant from a student in the midst of all the high school chaos, but really, what it is a cry for society to finally realize that teenage life now is so much more than what is shown in Mean Girls. My purpose is to bring attention to the students, not only at VHS, but around the world, whose hard work needs to be praised.

Individually, we all may seem like a confused, reckless group of kids, but together, we are unlike any other. We do more than ever thought possible and we try a lot more than we are given credit for. I am, personally, so proud of Valparaiso High School because, not only do we have an amazing group of teachers who are always there to answer our questions and pleas for help, but the students are so, talented, hardworking, and persistent. So, whether you’re a parent, a grandparent, or just a newbie out of college, remember to, next time, look at your high school sons & daughters, brothers & sisters, nieces & nephews, and give them a pat on the back because truthfully, they’re doing a lot better than you could possibly imagine.