A teenager in the 21st Century

Distractions are friends, they help avoid reality


Written off as moody, rebellious, and disobedient to others. When in reality, we have no clue how to feel. 

March 13, 2020, the days started to pass in the blink of an eye, and we had no chance to savor them. As students we were expected to wake up as if nothing happened, open our computers and “learn.” We became stuck in an endless loop of flipping our screens open and sitting for seven hours trying to process the information that was being thrown at us. 

How? How did they expect me to get up, realize that I am living in a time that will be written in the textbooks, and not have a say in what we should be doing? 

Sure, I will admit that at first the idea of not having to wear a uniform or fix my hair every morning did sound appealing, and I was enjoying ending the school day earlier. But how did they suppose I was going to complete three assignments on a topic I was not able to process?

Sometimes I feel as though I should give up. I pressure myself. I disappoint myself. I wish I could try harder. Not only am I tired of the routine I live in, but I’m tired of having no motivation. Some days are brighter. I feel like it will be different. But then other days, I crumble. 

I wish I could flip a switch in my brain that allows me to become the person that other people want me to be. That I want to be. But then, who would I be? 

Distractions are my greatest friends. They help me avoid the reality that is being a teenager. Being a teenager is when I figure out who I am. What I want to be for myself. MY IDENTITY. 

These years have been the hardest years of my life. Even without the pandemic; the pressure is ON: to be a perfect child, to be a perfect sibling, to be a perfect student. But what about a perfect me? When will that happen? 

When will the perfect me arise? When my teenage years are over and I have to become an adult?

Growing up is a scary thing. Along the way, our mindset changes from when we were children to when we become teens. As children, we desire to have financially stable and commonly heard of jobs: teachers, police officers, doctors. When we become a teenager, we are open to the endless possibilities of those jobs. Teachers are math teachers, professors, and educational consultants. Police officers become sheriffs, sergeants, and detectives. Doctors become surgeons, pediatricians, or psychologists.

Sitting here, in my 15 years of glory, I wonder, is this who my 7-year-old self aspired to be? 

We feel pressured to make the right choices that will make everyone happy. Careful to not make any major decisions that can influence our “destiny.”  The decisions we make NOW will impact our future LATER.

As hard as life hits us, we still are figuring it out. 

Teenagers. Being a teenager is all about choices. 

Adaley Perez is the President of the Journalism and Media club at Making Waves Academy in Richmond.