Where are you right now?
You’re sitting on a chair or couch or perhaps you’re laying on a bed or couch or maybe on the floor somewhere. A desktop, laptop computer or smart phone. Maybe you’re at home, the house of a friend or family member or at the library. But you’re probably inside and you’ve got internet connection.
That’s at least two, maybe more depending on your situation, things that you should be grateful for. Do you ever even think about it? Are you comfortable right now, wherever you are?
How old are you? Are you in school or work? I bet you hate it every day, regardless of which it is. If you’re in school you’ve got homework and bitchy teachers who yell and are impatient. You’ve got classes you don’t understand so you get pissed off. You have another class where you don’t know anyone or maybe you know everyone and they’re the problem, thoughtless creatures or maybe it’s you who’s thoughtless and they’re all conversational and intelligent and like to ask questions about things that you don’t understand.
Or if you’ve got work instead because you’re done with school. Your boss is lazy and bipolar and some days he thinks you’re the greatest worker there ever was while other days it almost seems like he’ll fire you if you sneeze. Your coworkers are lazy and don’t do anything, they don’t appreciate you and they’re unfriendly anyway. You work hard despite your shitty hours and how much you hate getting out of bed just to go to that job.
But school is there to educate you so that you can grow up and do something. School teaches you. Admittedly, some things you may never need to know or care about knowing but they may come in handy one day when your friends are intellectuals or your coworkers who you hate are having an educational conversation and you can pipe up with things you thought you’d never use.
That job you hate is giving you money. Money that will pay your bills, buy you food, buy you blankets and sheets and pillows for the bed where you sleep every night. Money that secures you and allows you to do more that you want to do.
Maybe you really do have a dead-end job because you’re sixteen and you work at McDonald’s and your family is a bunch of deadbeats who never wanted kids. The solution is not skipping classes or dropping out of school and drinking and doing drugs. Just because your family is a bunch of deadbeats doesn’t mean you need to grow up to be like them. You can make a future for yourself. You can go to school, and study, and get the grades. You can save up money from being a cashier at McDonald’s and you can go to college.
Why are there so many people my age – young adulthood – that think it’s amazing to smoke cigarettes? Because their parents do, because their friends pressure them into it? Why do THEY do it? It’s a dirty, smelly habit that gives you cancer. Why are kids even younger than that drinking alcohol? Why do teenagers post on Facebook that they’re home alone and that they know where their parents’ alcohol is stashed and does anyone want to come over and drink with me?
I’m sixteen years old. I am a sophomore in high school and I have a hell of time making any kind of a good grade. I’m in honor’s classes or my state’s version of them (accelerated – for some reason, Northeasterners call it accelerated) but I know sophomores taking two or three Advanced Placement classes – college courses. I’m working my ass off, as you may have noticed by my terrible lack of updating, just to maintain all right grades in the classes I have.
In 2013-14, I’m going to be applying to UT Austin. Admittedly, I don’t know yet what I’m going to study, but I’m interested in psychology and it is a growing field.I’m interested in expanding and creating my future.
More than that, I’m excited to be an adult. I want to have a job, and I want to buy a house and explore it. I want to create a family and scratch children’s heights in the door frame of the kitchen or living room. I want to paint a room. I want to move furniture. I want to grow up and I want to live.
Around me, I see so many kids that simply don’t care. I see kids that are in those AP classes and they make the grades easily and don’t care. It’s nothing to them. My best friend in the school I’m at is repeating freshman year because last year she didn’t care and when she did care, she got pissed every second she didn’t understand the material. She didn’t let anybody in.
There’s a point in your life where you have to grow up. You don’t have to be like me, waiting to go to college and waiting to buy a new house in your dream location. No. But you have to understand that you have to work with people. I’m a hypocrite. Because I’m in New England and I haven’t made but two friends in over two and a half years of living here. Everyone here is like a different species and the adults are the only ones who have a glimpse of that and the difference that it really, honestly makes.
But even they really don’t see it. They won’t listen, they don’t understand it. They have to pretend like they do because when you’re a teacher and a student asks you for help because they’re failing and they need some sort of assistance, it’s in your job description to be a role model and a source of support. But all the words in the world wouldn’t convince them that their other students are drug addicts, are lazy, they don’t care about work or school or anything. And you wonder… Why do you try?
You try because you care. Sometimes you know it’s fruitless. But you really care about something and it gnaws at you, it eats at you, because it matters.
This is a letter to all of you.
This is for the minors doing drugs, drinking alcohol. This is for the parents that drink too much. This is for the teachers that are so tired and stressed that they snap at students because they can’t take the pressure. This is for those of us who are less fortunate. This is for those of us that aren’t anywhere near as gifted as we’d like to be but work our asses off anyway.
Don’t give up. Be confident about your future. You don’t have to be doing what you’re doing. You can start over. A friend of mine once told me it was never too late. Take his advice.