I am not smart enough for my chemistry teacher. I would not be beautiful enough if you were to ask the world of social media. I am not a good enough friend if you were to ask the ones who do not stick around anymore. I am not patient enough if you ask those who need me to wait on them. I am not rich enough if you ask the ones with full wallets. I’m not cultured enough because I don’t know the lyrics of that one song by that one artist. B ut take me out of that context and stop comparing me to others. Think of me as an individual. Then, I am smart enough to become anything I want to be. I am beautiful enough to look in the mirror and be pleased with what I see. I am a good enough friend if I am allowed to be and if I am treated like one. I am patient enough to keep living every day to see what awaits me in the future. I am rich enough to stay well fed and content. I am cultured enough because I know the lyrics to that other song by that other artist. I am enough for myself and that is all that matters.
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On paper, I am a somewhat average student with a less than average attendance record. I am not industrious enough. I don’t turn in every single homework assignment nor arrive to school promptly every day. Some days, I am unable to give my undivided attention to the given task at hand. I remember telling a teacher I was shooting for an 1800 on my SAT. She told me to go for a 1500. I once told a teacher of my dreams for college. He reiterated how college just wasn’t for everybody. I recall going to some in search of comfort, but being reminded I wasn’t Latina enough to take pride in my heritage, not mature enough to be considered an adult, not proper enough to be considered a woman. Focusing on all the things I was not contributed to a restless and unhappy outlook on life. Still, I resolved to ignore others’ impressions of me. I have been self-sufficient since the seventh grade. I’ve been the youngest in multiple work environments and still did a better job than many of the adults surrounding me. I failed an English class, but received one of the highest reading and writing test score averages in my grade.
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The fine line between innovation and distraction exists in today’s generation. More and more you see teens running to iPhones rather than running toward the local library. Still, the preconceived notion that teenagers do not read is false. “It feels like you’re in another world, but if I had to lose one, I’d lose Twitter. If you lose books or anything like that, you’ll be stupid,” says 16-year-old Dustin Bailey, of the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science. In a world of YouTube clips and Vine compilations, it is difficult for authors to capture audiences as attention spans falter. These days, many educators try to incorporate technology into the classroom in an effort to get teens engaged in the curriculum. “Books aren’t something I do every day, but it’s just that reading is too good of an opportunity to miss,” says 17-year-old Eliza Lin, of Boston Latin School. While splashy films, television, and online services hog the stage, the simple pleasures of literacy are not lost on teens. “I like to read,” says Julyn Frazier-Ryan, 17, of the O’Bryant. “I find it enjoyable.”
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Social media has been known as a way to communicate with friends, family, and even strangers. But some teens wouldn’t agree with social media being mixed with parents. Teenagers have their own reasons why they would block their parents on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other sites. Well, Kevin Lewis, 17, from the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science, says he would feel very uncomfortable if his mother was aware of his tweets. Although they are friends on Facebook, Lewis doesn’t stream his personal thoughts, so his mother doesn’t really have much to say about his profile. Twitter is different. “I wouldn’t want to reveal the side of me I know she wouldn’t accept,” he says. Not all teens block their parents because of acceptance issues, though. Carolyn Neil, a junior at the O’Bryant, says she blocked her mother on Facebook because she wants a private life. Though there are plenty of teenagers who do not want their parents to have knowledge of their Internet activity, some teens do not mind. “I would feel comfortable if my father was aware of what I posted,” says Judy Siffra, a junior at the O’Bryant. “I have nothing to hide.”
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