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How it feels to be a teenager

Our workie Lewis Moran (14) on exam stress, social networks and missing Family Guy

Published on May 12th 2011.

How it feels to be a teenager

I THINK adults underestimate what it is to be a teenager.

“Enjoy school while you can,” they say. But the life of a 21st century teenager isn't all it's cracked up to be.

One of the worst things of being a teenager (and I think every under 16 year old in the country would agree) is school. Sure, working involves more hours, more important stuff and with that more stress, but looking at this month for example, I have six GCSE exams to look forward to.

"I think the thing I envy most about adults is their freedom. I have to be home for 9pm and in bed for 10pm, which is quite frustrating when Family Guy starts at 11pm."

Each one is very important, and with the added hours of revision classes, extra homework and so on, I think it's fair to say I'm quite stressed.

 It's frustrating; revising different subjects at different times and then trying to fit in a social life, which to a teenager is very important, and then when the exam finally comes, you can easily become a nervous wreck.

Okay, it's one hour of your day and then it's all over, but the pressure you can get from teachers, parents, even friends, all pushing you to do well, can become a little too much for teenagers with our 'easy' lives.

I've got strong opinions about GCSE's and exams in general. Not because not having to do exams would give me an easier time, just because I think once you’ve gotten into college, your GCSEs, having spent four years preparing for them, are largely irrelevant. If pupils were just to do coursework subjects, I think everyone would perform better because of less pressure and nerves brought on by exams.

And with the better results we would achieve, our confidence would build and when college finally came around, we’d be mentally ready for becoming an adult.

There's a lot of worrying as a teenager. When I was given a sheet on my minimum expected grades earlier this year, my stomach turned inside out as I saw a long line made up of the letter A.

Being told the minimum I should achieve was the second highest mark possible in all 12 of my subjects made me pretty scared. I was scared of having exams and being told a B wasn't good enough didn’t help.

I did a bit of research, and at my school, 71 per cent of GCSE students achieved five or more A*-C grade passes, which puts a fair bit of pressure on me and the people in my class. In the last four years, our ‘five or more’ pass rate has risen 31 per cent.

I've been doing work experience at COnfidential for four days now and I have to say I much prefer this to being at school. The freedom of the lunch hour, allowing you to walk anywhere around Manchester for food, and not being limited to the slop served at school; the independence of doing work that you enjoy, not having three lessons out of six a day you can't stand; the relaxation of not having a teacher watch your every move. I could definitely get used to this.

I think the thing I envy most about adults is their freedom. I have to be home for 9pm and in bed for 10pm, which is quite frustrating when Family Guy starts at 11pm.

But you adults can stay out or stay up until whatever time you like. And another thing; I'm not saying teenagers should be allowed the vote anytime soon, but we rarely have a say or influence on anything at all. Like in school, when a teacher's wrong, you can't tell them they're wrong, because you're just a teenager. The adult is obviously right.

A social life is a big thing for teenagers and in 2011, people mostly talk through technology. Blackberry Messenger and Facebook are the main socialising tools we’re tuned into for hours a day and to be honest, I can't imagine life without them.

It's sometimes quite hard to have time for a social life, with all the exam preparation recently, but I, like many teenagers, need one.

I've started using my voice less, purely because I can simply send a text just as fast. When it comes to arranging a game of football or even just sorting out what time to walk to school with my mates, my main form of communication is social networks. As for socialising without technology, football, shopping, parties and under-age drinking seem to be the main ways teenagers socialise.

Perhaps I’m being a little too negative on the life of a teenager though, because when there are no exams, life seems to flow along very nicely. One of the major positives is the school holidays - six weeks of nothing to worry about is brilliant. And so is not paying bills. Or not having to do the washing.

Maybe you grown-ups do have a point. I think I should enjoy being young while I still can.

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AnonymousJuly 28th 2011.

Hello Lewis! I am writing from The Garden Productions in London, where we are producing a documentary series for Channel 4 about different stages of relationships -- and one of these is 'First Loves' -- We are looking for thoughtful teens to talk to us about this topic and based on this article, you have a lot to say about being a teenager! Please get in touch: annalies.winny@thegardenproductions.tv

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