The Student Media Site of William Clarke College

We Are

The Student Media Site of William Clarke College

We Are

The Student Media Site of William Clarke College

We Are

I’m Just 17

Photo Credit: Jonathan Borba, Unsplash

This article was originally published by Cape Fear Voices/Teen Scene. It has been republished with permission as part of We Are’s international student voice partnership.

My name is Ianna. I’m 17, 18 in a few months, but I don’t feel like an adult yet. I don’t feel like I’m ready for that stage in life. Part of me still feels like an eight-year old and part of me feels like a college student. In the months leading up to my birthday, I’ve been thinking more about growing up, age, and what it means to be a teenager.

There are a lot of stereotypes about teenagers. We’re irresponsible, we’re lazy, and all we do is sit around playing on cellular devices. There are a lot of rules put on teenagers- by everyone. I’m too young to do half the things I would like to do and too old to do the other half. Too young to go out late, too old to have birthday parties; too young to vote, too old to take naps; the list can go on forever.

At the same time, teenagers are subject to many expectations. We feel a lot of pressure to succeed- to get straight A’s, do every extracurricular activity, take hard classes… and that’s just school. Not to mention social pressure. Our lives are not easy, as much as everyone may think they are. We get a lot thrown at us trying to impress everyone. We get stressed out easily by having school, and work, and still coming home after both of those things and staying up until midnight or 1:00 AM doing school work and studying. Then having to wake up the next day and do the same thing over again off of four to five hours of sleep.

Being 17 means living in a life of contradictions. You have to get into Chapel Hill, but you can’t stay up past 9 on school nights. You’re expected to have everything in life planned out, but you’re still seen as incapable of being independent.

The biggest thing that is said about teenagers is that we don’t care. We do care; we care a lot. I cannot tell you how badly I want to get into nursing school and get my Master’s degree, but the second I get in, there is no turning back. The stress that we feel is from external pressure, but also from internal motivation to make the world better. There are so many people in this world who need help and just don’t have the motivation to get it, but we can help them. We can be the ones that go out there and change this world. It takes two seconds to stop and ask someone if they need help carrying groceries, to stop and ask someone if they are okay, to stop and ask someone if they have eaten today, but nobody understands that. Nobody sees that as important, but I do. I will make it known to the world that everyone is important and that you should never look past someone just because they don’t look or act like you. My goal is to make this known by helping people throughout the world and sharing my progress on social media to help motivate everyone to do the same. I will start this journey the moment I get out of school and I hope many of you will do the same.

People say that in recent years they have lost faith in the next generation, but if anything, my faith has grown. My generation will be the ones to step out of their comfort zones and help the world become better. We’ll be the ones to go out to help people in need, we’ll be the ones that do things that have never been done before. I haven’t been able to do much yet, but I will.

But after all, what do I know? I’m just 17.

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