I often hear so many people, especially teachers and parents, say how much time teenagers spend on their cell phones and other electronics; time that, they say, could be spent doing something productive, like focusing on school work or physical activity. As one of these teenagers, although it is hard to admit, I am starting to believe that they are right. So many recent studies show that technology has made a negative impact on the IGen generation and it is putting future generations in danger because the excessive time spent on electronic devices is turning into a vicious, never-ending cycle. It is damaging the generation in many different ways, both physically and mentally. For example, we are much more likely to sit on the couch with a phone in the left hand and a coke in the right when it is a perfect day outside because we cannot seem to get away from the constant bombardment of new Instagram posts and snapchats. Computers keep us company and feeling engaged as we hear about YouTube videos and Netflix shows that must be watched in order to keep up with our friends, and then to text about with friends on snapchat or iMessage…again, a vicious and never-ending cycle. As a result, as this kind of behavior continues, it limits the amount of physical activity we are getting because of being “glued to our screens,” making it harder to burn calories and easier to store fat. I recently read an article titled, “Your Smartphone Reduces Your Brainpower, even if it’s Just Sitting There,” and it was really interesting because it explained that even if you are not physically on your phone, you are still thinking about everything that is happening on it while you are away. The majority of the IGen Generation seems to have fallen victim to the never-ending barrage of ‘reasons’ to stay prone on the couch with a phone and computer in both hands. The effect of this, outside of poor health, is that teens are not learning the social skills that are needed in order to work through issues and problems with people because people who are tied to their cell phone don’t see the expressions and feelings behind the words, nor are they experiencing life and what makes it so great. Further, in trying to create what looks like a full and fun life, teens are becoming anxious and stressed with no real outlet to relieve it. Accepting this and beginning to see myself in the subjects of many of the studies and papers that I have read has not been easy, but what is even harder is putting down my own phone. However, I have begun to see that when I do spend more time living outside of my electronics, the more I begin to create a real life of learning and experiences that give me things to talk about, and not just text about.
By Sydney Bradford
I am nearing my final days as a high-schooler. My entire life all I have known is going to school throughout the week and repeating this- week in and week out, for 12 years. Graduating high school is the end of an era. And in many ways it feels like, and is, the end of your childhood. I probably will not stay in touch with most of my friends who I have grown up with in these halls. I may not remember all of the silly little moments I had with them. In many ways graduating is just a scary feeling of lose. Like everything you have grown comfortable in is shifting, and you just have to scramble and try to not fall down with it. The reality of leaving my home, my family, my friends, and going to a new city filled with new people is daunting. It’s hard to not feel anxious about something like that.
However, if there is something to learn from being a senior, you have to embrace everything. It does not benefit you to worry and stress about such small things and miss out on what is in front of you. I promise it will all work out. Please do not pass up time with your family or time with your dog or time with your best friend or time with your younger siblings. Senior year is busy I know, and stressful, I know. It is easy to push them off and be “too busy” at the time. You get so used to coming home and seeing them everyday or going to school and seeing them everyday, but that is not a luxury you have anymore. Our time is limited. The days are counting down until each of us sets off to a new college on a new path to a new career.
It is bittersweet really. The excitement that comes with growing up and the potential to do something you are passionate about. The excitement to just be on your own and independent. I remember when my best friend got accepted into her top choice university, I remember how happy I felt for her. I remember how happy I was for her, but I also remember biting my tongue and holding back tears because it was at that moment I really, finally realized that we would not even be in the same state in just a few months. Let alone the same school. It doesn’t hit you until it does. You know all through high school at the end everyone will go their separate ways. You hear everyone talking about applying to their schools at the beginning of their senior year, but its just that conversation. It still doesn’t seem REAL. Next thing you know, you blink, and you are walking across the stage to get your diploma. You are hugging your friends telling them goodbye and wishing them the best. You are saying goodbye to your family and baby brothers who you realize you have never lived apart from….
Rising senior class, embrace everything. Don’t fight with your friends. Spend time with your family. Tell people you love them. Get involved. Hold on to these memories because soon you too will be off to start your adult life.
By: Serena Butler
With the start of junior year, people can be heard whispering about prom. The exciting and elegant dance at The Fox that only upperclassmen can attend is quite thrilling. The planning, the trying on dresses, looking for limos and restaurants, finding the perfect location to take pictures, hair, nails, makeup, shoes, groups, the date, and tons of “prama” (prom-drama) all come with the special occasion. My junior year, I was really looking forward to prom. I’ve never been too fancy of a person, so I did most of the prep work at my house with the guidance of my older sister. I borrowed the shoes she wore to her prom seven years ago and had to be persuaded to wear light blue studs in my ears. I was eager to look for a dress and it took several tries to find one I really liked. However, I loved putting it on and I felt pretty awesome in it. A small group of friends and I had planned how we would get to Atlanta, what restaurant we would eat at, etc. I had a very typical prom: pictures, dinner, date, dance, waffle house, party, and home. I had a good time and I love any occasion where I get to dance – so why didn’t I go this year?
1 – I was lazy. I didn’t want to go out and spend an entire day looking for a dress that somewhat resembled the perfect dress I saw on Pinterest and most likely wound not find anything. I didn’t want to worry about where to take pictures, where to eat, how to get to the city and back, where to book appointments, blah blah blah. It just seemed like too much for me and I didn’t find the experience enjoyable. I felt like I had better things to do (I didn’t really, but I had other things I wanted to do more). I did not like the fact that we spent so much time and money planning one night – one night I had already experienced.
2 – The cost. Prom is not cheap. The tickets this year were $75 pre-order and $85 regular. My junior year the cost was five dollars less, so the slight increase in price annoyed me for silly reasons. However, prom also means spending money on a dress/suit, shoes, jewelry, appointments, transport, boutonnieres/corsages, and dinner. Sure, you don’t have to spend all of that money. I saved my junior year by borrowing shoes and not booking any appointments. However, prom was still a pricey experience. I was uncomfortable spending that much money again for a night I had already had. Plus, I would be paying 80 bucks to dance with my friends in dress-up clothes with makeup on and if that doesn’t sound like a fifth-grade slumber party then I don’t know what does.
3 – I don’t have a fear of missing out. When I decided not to go to prom this year, I was wondering if I would feel like I missed the experience, but I didn’t. I was perfectly happy with my decision. I didn’t feel weird about looking on Instagram and seeing pictures of everyone having fun. I didn’t feel left out or alone. I was alright and the weekend passed on as quickly as any other. Of course, the main reason I felt like I hadn’t missed out on anything was that I went the year before and I made sure to have a date, a nice dress, a party to go to, etc., in case I couldn’t make it to senior prom. Also, as seniors we have a formal in May, so I’ll get my dancing fix with my friends then.
I guess if I had any advice on this matter, I would say to go to prom at least once. Dip your perfectly pedicured toes into the pools of dancefloor sweat and see if you enjoy it to the point that you think it’s worth going to again. Don’t just skip prom because you don’t have a date – so many people go without dates (plus I have always felt like a date would be resentful because they had to spend double the money on tickets and food). Plus, it’s incredibly fun to dance and plan with your friends. Yeah, people will think your weird of skipping prom you’re your dad might think you’re being rebellious or something – like prom is the establishment and you must fight it to your last stubborn core. No. No, no. That’s not it. I had gone once, had fun, and didn’t feel the need to do it again. That’s why I didn’t go to prom this year. More people than you think don’t got to prom. Not going is a perfectly viable option. If you dread going because it makes you uncomfortable – don’t go. It’s not worth being stuck in Atlanta for a night and you can’t get home because there’s traffic, it’s not safe, or your friends don’t want to leave yet. Consider your options. I did both and I’m honestly happy with the outcome.
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