Advice to Teens

Hi. My name is* Jay. I’m just past my teen years, and the memories of what it’s like to live as a teenager are fresh in my mind. I am therefore perfectly situated to give teenagers survival advice. So, if you are a teenager or about to become a teenager, this post is for you.

To start with, do not try to be perfect for your parents. You can never live up to their fantasy expectations. More importantly, the more perfect you are, the greater any mistake will seem to be. If your room is always spotless and your clothes never adorn the floor or chairs, then that one time that you accidentally leave a sock in the refrigerator will be treated like a big deal. Much annoying parental attitude will result.

If they believe that it is your very nature to be a slob, they will be much more impressed when you occasionally clean your room, and more likely to overlook other transgressions, like leaving a light on or eating a house plant.

It’s also important not to strive for straight “A”s. A “B” on an otherwise perfect report card or, God forbid, a “C”, will bring life to a standstill. But if your report cards are habitually peppered with a good mix of letters, that “B” or “C” will hardly be noticed. What impresses teacher and parents far more than straight “A”s are improvements between grading periods. It is therefore important to do your worst work at the start of a semester. Make some intentional mistakes in papers to give teachers the ego boost they need when they fix your errors. Then, you can incorporate their corrections and suggestions into later homework so they will feel like you, and (by extension) they, are a success.

It is important to be familiar with all popular culture, including video games. Everything in now will be out of style in a few years, but it will provide you with objects of nostalgia that will give you a common language with your peers. Endless reminiscing about outdated games, songs, memes and videos will substitute for conversation at parties.

And finally, do not take standardized tests seriously. They don’t affect your grades. Besides, if the educational system wants honest results, it should be testing us where we are at the moment, not seeing how freaked out and crammed full of temporary, useless knowledge we can get. It’s fine to pretend to care, and even polite to teachers and other adults who are afraid that their funding and jobs are on the line. But really, just relax and don’t worry about standardized tests, knowing that teachers hate them even more than you do.


Also, if you are now, have ever been, or are planning to be a teenager, click this flower:


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