Today from a Teenager’s Point of View

It seems like it was just yesterday I walked into high school, a freshman in awe of all that was ahead of me. I looked at the seniors and thought they seemed so old, so cool, so comfortable with who they were. I couldn’t wait to be a senior. Seniors didn’t worry about getting lost, weren’t worried about making friends, had their position on the team and by second semester weren’t as stressed about school. By then, most of them knew where they were going to school and were just looking forward to all of the end of the year activities.

Finally, it’s my turn! I have committed to my college as have most of my friends. A few of my friends have last visits scheduled and now what? We have been looking forward to senior ditch day, voting for prom queen and king, prom and post prom parties, graduation and all of the parties that follow. I couldn’t wait to take those pictures with my friends so that I could hang them in my dorm and remember some of the best days of my senior year.

If you would have asked me even last week if this was all going to be taken from me, I would never have believed you. My parents were watching the news, talking about what if and starting to talk about plans, but I don’t think they even knew what was coming. Our family in Europe were already in the initial phase of it and even they didn’t seem overly concerned but that quickly changed.

Suddenly, spring break school trips to Europe are cancelled. Senior year spring break plans gone, prom may continue to be just a dream and graduation pictures on the football field are some of the things we won’t experience. It doesn’t seem fair and I am mad. I haven’t quite grasped the reality that I may have walked the halls of my high school for the last time. I may never see my teachers again or learn what faith my religions teacher follows. Some of my classmates I might not ever see again as we all go our separate ways this fall.

Add to all of this disappointment, we are now on house arrest. We are finally 18, most of us don’t have curfews. We have cars, jobs and money. We have a group of friends that we love spending time with who will be going different directions in the fall and now way more time on our hands than we have since last summer. Yes, we do have the bonus of technology which thank goodness helps us to stay connected, but it just isn’t the same. We are nervous, we are mad, and we want and need our friends.

I saw another article that talked about how my graduating class are the same kids that came into the world during 9/11. We clearly never knew the world changed, but our parents did. They have the fear of knowing how scary the world can be and are feeling it again now. It is hard to accept their rules to stay put. It is hard to see them scared. It is hard to know my next few months are uncertain.

As a teenager, I would ask adults to be patient with us. We were just experiencing our freedom, we were getting ready to go off on our own and now we just don’t know what is next. We are disappointed in all that we have looked forward to and will now miss. We are angry, sad and scared and yet trying to be optimistic that this will end as quickly as it came.

-Senior in High School, Illinois
The team at Erika’s Lighthouse knows how challenging and difficult this transition is on our teens, educators, parents and others. We are here to help and support our young people. We have launched an exciting new campaign that will provide meaningful, practical resources for teens, educators and parents.