When people ask what I do for a living, I’m often taken off-guard. Of course I know that I’m a teacher and that I teach journalism. But that explanation doesn’t really define what I ‘do’ every day, and that why I’m instantaneously confused by how I should respond. For the record, if I ever respond to that question with “saving lives” it’s because I’ve had a particular difficult day, and that is truly what I think I do in that moment. It’s a hard-knock life, y’all.
So, in short, I spend my days with teenagers ranging from 14-18 years old. Some days are really bad, but most days are pretty fantastic. I like my students. They seem to like me. It’s a happy, dysfunctional family. And it hasn’t been so long since my teenager days, and that helps me to not be such a horrible hag.
One thing I really love about my job is the opportunity to give advice that I wish someone would have given me. I chose 16 for this post because that’s the middle ground for my students and, I think, the most confusing of the ages.
Tip #1: Boys are not “life”
While the opposite sex will play a huge role in the entirety of your life, don’t revolve high school around them. Why? First, their hygiene is not exactly top-notch, and, unfortunately, neither their brain or their heart has anything to do with their thought processes. They are driven by one thing alone: HORMONES. Don’t hold it against them, but don’t obsess yourself with them holding YOU against them.
Tip #2: Style
Step away from the popcorn shirts, scrunchies, and patchwork jeans. They were not a good idea then, and you will hate yourself for them one day. Also, it’s OK to step out of your comfort zone of windpants and t-shirts. You won’t spontaneously combust or anything.
Tip #3: Clean your room
Trust me, your mom is right on this one. Learn how to clean now because no one likes a slob. Your college roommates will resent you for the being the “messy” roommate, and it will embarrass you when they call attention to it. But that doesn’t mean you have to become some sort of “neat freak” who scrubs everything with a toothbrush and spends her Saturday cleaning air vents with a Q-tip… because that’s just crazy.
Tip #4: Wear sunscreen
You’re pale. Get over it. You’re always going to be pale. It’s never going to change. All that being said, for the love of Christmas, wear sunscreen. Not just to protect yourself from wrinkles and, ya know, CANCER, but also to avoid the disaster that was Jr. Prom. Looking back, that dress was hideous, and you were NOT working that up-do, but the farmer’s tan is truly hideous. And one day, you’ll be a 23-year-old woman wishing she could burn every photo commemorating this tragic event, but, in the end, she’ll post in on her blog because it’s just so bad that it’s actually damn funny.
Tip #5: High school doesn’t last forever
I’m pretty sure my parents preached this message to me repeatedly, but I wasn’t going to listen to them; however, it’s true. High school ends and life goes on regardless of what happened in those four years. That girl who was horrible to you for absolutely no reason won’t be around in college to ruin those years too. The boys you thought were “the cutest thing ever” will fail in comparison to what you’ll see in college. It won’t matter what you wore, what you didn’t, what you said, the mistakes you made, or even your accomplishments because college is a fresh start. And college is where you’ll find who you truly are.
Next topic? Four hobbies and why I love them!