Here is what I know, and that is this: us high-schoolers do way too much. We all care about getting into the right places, having the right amount of extracurriculars to impress high-flying universities and being super-mutants*. It’s like we’re all looking for something in our so-called achievements to define who we are and take us into the right doors so that we could have the right lifestyle. But this also makes us the epitome of Bernard Shaw’s epic quote: “Youth is wasted on the young.”
Youth is wasted on us – because we all just fly around, trying to juggle the way-too-many things we have on our plate. Then, as a social thing, we just revel in stupid jokes that go something like this: ‘LOL! Do you spit or swallow???’ and in dramas that go something like this: ‘OMG, I just got an 85 on that test. This is the worst day of my life!’ “It’s okay, Nona, you’ll do better next time!!!!”
And thus, as teenagers, our lives exist.
And thus, as a precocious teen who likes her Tarantino way too much, I exist. It’s funny to think of my life – or any other teen’s, in fact – as empty, because it’s not, really. Not in a typical sense. I’ve come to be proud of all the curriculars that I’ve done, and I think others have as well. We’re all presidents of some club or another, we all volunteer like 500+ volunteers at the hospital/soup kitchen/old people’s home and overall, we do do things that we like.
But here’s the thing – and this is sort of where the loss of youth comes in - but there’s no unity here. In this generation that I’m part of, this ‘I’m Doing ME’ generation, there’s barely any unity. That just makes life awkward. Like, high school is supposed to be a cage for four years that you’re chained to, and the people that you’re chained with are the people you survive it with, right? That’s what it’s like – that’s why you get “graduation goggles” at the end of high school, right? Because all the prisoners that you survived it with are going to go on with their lives, and you, to yours. And that’s supposed to be sad. But when we have people caring so much about their profile, and trying to figure out how to get themselves into the ideal uni thereafter, there’s far too much individualism.
Yet similarity. Because we’re all like that.
I don’t know how to deal with it. The world tells us to be concerned about ourselves, and worry about what careers we’re going to do, and what kind of lives we’re going lead. So I guess, once we start doing that, and we start thinking with the future always in mind, we lose sense of the present. We lose the focus we need to enjoy life as it is right now, and the focus to respond to it as it is right now. And in that way, you sort of lose that connection with your own graduating class.
Or at least, that’s how I feel, as a tech-obsessed teen raised in the 90s/early 2000s era. I know I used ‘we’ a lot, but I suppose I’m overgeneralizing the people around me. Mainly, I’ve really felt this way, as the me-focused teen of the present. But what can I really do? It’s high school, and John Hughes has just lied to me all along by making me think it might be worth something more.
*super-mutant: high-schooler who maintains a high grade average with taking on a gazillion impressive extracurriculars, volunteer duties and sports activities.
Read more from Vipasha Shaikh on her blog.
Feature image via Movie Screenshots.