Letter: Try to be yourself

By on October 29, 2009

Seems to me that today, teenagers have more problems to sort out than the latest gossip, the best friend who stole their boyfriend, or the piles of homework they continue to push to the side for later. Well, do the words “identity crisis” ring any bells? No? What about … “fake, poser, wannabe”?

In high school, it’s hard enough adjusting to the changes you encounter and trying to make you and your friends happy—not to mention, your family happy. But what might be even harder is striving to fit in. To be accepted. I don’t know too many people who like the feeling of rejection. Who wants to be that one who sits by themselves at lunch? The one that people push and shove around just to get a laugh?

Now, I’d like to know who could tell a real, down-to-earth person from a person who is faking it just for acceptance. I’d also like to know why, exactly, do teens feel the pressure to be somebody they aren’t? Would it not be easier to just simply do what you want, to be yourself? The whole concept seems foreign to me personally, but not for all teens at Kaneland.

Whether it’s teens modeling themselves after a peer or even someone they admire in the media, it’s not doing them any good pretending to be someone they’re clearly not. It’s not healthy for one to go to great lengths for something as worthless as fitting in, even though it seems like it means everything right now.

It may seem that way, but years down the road will that reflect the hard work they put into school? Will it show people that they have a real personality? I think bits and pieces of one’s life experiences shape the person they grow up to be, and in this case, growing up to be. Why deny those pieces? I’m not trying to say that teens can’t be expressive in the way they are during high school. Be unique, be creative, be fearless.

All the hype to be “cool” in school and rebel, to do what everyone is doing so you won’t be standing around like a loner, is very overwhelming. People wrap themselves around all that hype and get tangled up in a sticky web. Unable to see their true self, that wants to shine.

It’s upsetting to think that being your own self is hard for teens. It’s supposed to be simple. So when the peer pressure becomes crushing, teens must climb above that and do what they want, not what they think everyone else wants.

Katie Willis
Maple Park