This might sound kind of weird, but I’ve noticed certain things about myself, that make me wonder if I was ever different. I know you’re probably really confused as to why I, a teen, am asking that question, and you’re probably wondering if I’m having some sort of mid-life crisis (even though you know that I’m not even remotely close to that age yet), but seriously, I’ve been thinking about it…
Is that weird?
Do you do this?
Do you ever wonder how in the world you were that quirky, high-pitched voiced, younger version of yourself?
Because… I do. There are some things that haven’t changed much about me, like my quirkiness (although I’ve yet to understand it), and there are some things that have gone through some definite changes, like how my voice dropped nearly thirty notches, and I sound like I’m coming off of having a cold/cough almost all the time. (Sorry for that run-on sentence).
But… because I know you all too well, I won’t bore you with some long, annoying information dump and just get to my point.
I’m getting close to a turning point in my life, where a lot of things are going to change. In a few years, I will be alive for two whole decades. I’ll be in college really soon. I’ll have to learn how to live by myself. I’ll have to learn how to ‘adult’ (which is weird). But, looking back at my life so far, and what the past six to seven years have been like (which is over a third of my age), I realized that I’ve been stressed and ‘wired’ for a lot of it. Stress that comes from school, home life, unexpected events… You know what I mean? I know that You, being the adult in this exchange, might think that I’m being over-dramatic, like apparently most of the adults I’ve talked with think I’m being, but please, just hear me out. I don’t feel like anyone really understands the amount of pressure I’m under right now, but I feel like you might just be the only one who would understand. So… I guess I’ll start from the beginning.
Like I mentioned before, I wasn’t always the same person that I am today. I didn’t always have trouble making friends with people who were my age. I didn’t always have minor panic-attacks when I get to a level of stress that I can’t manage to get a hold of. I didn’t always have to turn down invites to places on weekends, because I’m “still working on my homework”. There are many things that have happened in the short amount of time that I’ve been alive that have contributed this. Probably the easiest one to cover will be the homework issue, because it ties right in with the stress part. I’m going to be a Junior this year, and suddenly everybody I talk to, once they’ve found out that I’m going to be a Junior, wants to know about my college plans.
Um, excuse me?
Do you really think that I have my life all figured out?
I mean, I know where I’m thinking of applying to (a lot of people don’t know this yet), but that doesn’t mean that I want to talk about it. I’m terrified of the idea that I’m going to have to apply, and I might get rejected from every single school I try to get into! I’m already being subjected to the pressure at school, because everyone thinks that I should be ‘in more honours/AP classes’ and the Juniors ‘need more work so they can be competitive for colleges’ and that unless you have a 4.0 average and a high SAT score, you won’t get into a good school and your entire life is going to be over.
I’m only in one AP class this year, because it’s all that I can handle. I tried an AP history class last year, but it was unbelievably hard. On the research papers (and I’m not exaggerating on this), people would get below a 20 percent because of all of the issues that the teacher found. What made everybody mad about this was the fact that we were never even introduced on how to write a research paper. We were told, “Alright, so you have a paper. Here’s the prompt. Go figure it out, I’m not answering questions”. Now, I’m not sure if this is how it actually is in college, but being the 15/16 year old that I was at the time, I was in complete panic mode. I couldn’t ask my teacher questions? I wasn’t allowed know what exactly my teacher was looking for in my paper? What in the world was I supposed to do?
Well, I wrote the paper. That’s what I did.
And I got a 53 percent on it.
It was the lowest score I’d ever received on a paper.
I wasn’t sad, I was just annoyed at the fact that I wasn’t able to ask what was needed of me. I worked on the assignment, blind as to what was needed, and turned in the best possible work I could have done, without even knowing what they wanted. And I failed. Maybe I was supposed to learn how to write a research paper at a college level as a Freshman in high school? Was I just not taught that? Or what, was I supposed to come into the class knowing exactly what was needed of me on a 50%-of-my-grade assignment?
Speaking of that class, along with all of the other classes I was taking, the homework was (and still is) a major factor in my stress. From 3:00pm until 10pm, I’d be furiously working on my homework, sometimes even past 10. I’d spend hours studying for tests that I had no chance of passing, working on assignments that probably would never see the light of day again, all for a piece of paper that I’d receive at the end of my four years in High School.
I’m not suggesting that I’m so over it that I’m going to drop out or anything (there’s no way I’d ever do that), it’s just that I really don’t know how in the world I’m going to handle my stress. I know there are ways that I can manage it, like go and try to let out all of my ‘wired-ness’ (that’s not a word but oh well) through things like yoga, or drama, or anything that would keep me active. But… I just want to find a solution now. But I know that that isn’t really possible.
How did you deal with it? How did you go through your teen years and push through all of the stress? Can you tell me your secret? Or do I have to figure that one out on my own?
I’d like to ask you another question. It might seem a bit ‘existential’ but please, stay with me. Why do I feel like I’m alone in my universe? I mean, I have Mom, Dad, and my Sister, but I don’t feel like I have any sort of connection with kids my own age. They all talk about the same thing: the newest TV shows/movies, who’s dating who, and their complete and utter confusion as to what they wish to pursue in their post high school careers. I only do one of three of those things (I think you can guess which one I can relate to — I’ll give you a hint: it’s the first one) but, apparently for people my age, that’s not enough. I feel like I’m just… existing, if that makes any sort of sense. The people that I thought were my friends slowly drifted away from me, pursuing new things. I’m happy for them, obviously, but at the same time, I’m almost put in a position where I’m wondering why I wasted my time with that person. I know that sounds a little bit ‘forceful’ and ‘out there’ but that’s what I sometimes feel. I sometimes wish I was able to tell the real ones from the fakes ones… do you know what I mean?
Anyway. I wanted to tell you about something that happened recently… I’m kind of in a bad state right now… My anxiety is rearing its ugly head again. I’ll talk about that in another letter.
Hope all is well with you,