As the last few months of my high school journey are coming to a close, I’ve been growingly encompassed by many of my first serious choices of young adulthood. As I am beginning to contemplate things such as where to go to college, what to study, how I want to present myself as a young woman, and what I want my effect to be on my surrounding society, I feel very hesitant as I recognize these are the choices that will be my first presentation to the young adult world. And once I’ve presented myself, I recognize how hard it will be to change that perception of who I am and what I stand for.
When I came into Champaign Central as a freshman in 2013, I was extremely eager to find my voice and become more of myself. Through many experiences of trial and error, some of which will have a lasting effect on me throughout the entirety of my life, I began to realize that many of my more stressful situations could have been avoided if I had listened to those who had their best interest looking out for me: my family.
While I was growing up I always felt the need to reject all the guidance that was given to me by my loved ones. I felt this because I thought that it was my right to make all of my choices entirely my own.
I see this spirit of “rebellion” in many other teenagers, even those who aren’t like myself. It’s a common characteristic for a teenager to feel as if nobody understands them as they begin to find their own voice. Scientifically, this behavior is blamed on the continuously changing hormones that are emitted within a teenager. And I’m sure that that holds a lot of truth. But I think the bigger cause is from the fact that teenagers are changing at such a fast rate, that they’re unable to recognize the advice of those who are looking after them, because they themselves cannot form a constant to grow that advice upon. Because at this time in their life, they do not recognize what they want to be yet, however, they are able to recognize what they do not want to be.
For instance, throughout my high school experience, I’ve always been super involved with extracurriculars. For the first couple of years, my parents went along with most of the things I was involved with. But as my junior year came, when I got my very first job and my classes became more and more advanced my parents tried to warn me that all the things I was involved with might just be too much for me to handle. I ignored that advice, and it was only after I had a severe mental breakdown that I wish I had listened to it.
Looking back I find multiple instances in my life where I wish I had listened to someone who had a little more experience than I. I think if I had listened, I would not necessarily be a different person, but I think I would have developed better relationships with those people, and I would have a more diverse sense of thought. It’s not that I regret any of the choices I have made. I reiterate, I am incredibly thankful and proud of the young woman I have become. But I do think as I am transitioning into a much more serious time in my life in order to avoid certain struggles, it could be beneficial for me to consider the advice I am given.
When I graduate from high school this spring I know that there will be tons of things that I won’t have figured out yet. College is a big choice, moving out is a big choice, searching for bigger roles within the community is a big choice, lots of things are going to be big choices. Through every step of the way however, I know that I have people there looking out for me. No matter how headstrong I may be about these opportunities arising in my life, I still make it a point to try and appreciate all the options I am given. In the end, no matter what happens, I know that as long as I am able to remember the sound of my own voice, and incorporate the love and thoughtfulness of those around me, I will be successful. I challenge you all that are in the midst of change and growth, to first identify who and what you want to be at the end of your journey. Then after that, find the things and people that empower you. Correspondingly use those things and take your first step. I promise in the end, everything will end up exactly where it is supposed to be and we all will be alright.