Nobody said being a teenager was gonna be easy but am I the only that feels like they’re growing up too fast? That all the stress and pressure means I’m missing out on the best parts of being young?

Being a teenager is a weird period in your life where you’re not a kid anymore but you’re not quite an adult. Things gets confusing, there’s so much going on and some days you wake up and feel like you don’t even know who you are. This handful of years is really important, though. You start high school, go through puberty, get a little independence and do a thousand other things in-between. It’s crazy, it’s fun and there’s so many emotions. It’s meant to be the best years of your life.

Until it isn’t.

School ramps up and suddenly it’s exam after exam, assignment after assignment, and you just can’t catch a break. You’re supposed to have a job, so you get some cash every week, but then you’re also supposed to make massive decisions. What do you want to be? What job do you want to do? Uni? TAFE? A job? Travel?

Your parents, your teachers, careers advisor, your boss- everybody all of sudden wants you to do a million things. They want decisions made, good exam results, a career path and a good performance at work.

Juggling all that is a tough gig, so it’s normal to want to just give up. One minute, you’re just swanning along without a care in world, and then the next, you’ve got so much responsibility on your shoulders that you’re not ready to deal with.

You’re too young. You don’t know enough about life to make these big choices. Studying for hour upon hour is the absolute worst, and there’s so much friggin’ pressure. There’s no time for all the fun stuff- the parties, hanging out with friends, chilling out or trying new things you weren’t allowed to do as a kid.

‘Your teenage years are the best years of your lives,’ we’re told. But if they’re supposed to be the best years, why are they so stressful? And why does it feel like you’re watching time slip away before your eyes; that we can’t make the most of being a teen when there’s so much to do?

Here’s some things you can do to slow down time, even just a little bit.

1. Schedule time to make memories

Even if it’s just an hour to go out for coffee with your pals or a night off to head to a house party. Organise your time and plan your study so you can have some time off. Everybody needs a break from Year 11 or 12 and doing too much can burn you out.

2. Talk to someone

Confide in a teacher, your mates or even your mum when everything gets too much. They can give you advice to try to balance it out, whether it’s study tips or suggesting dropping that extra subject that’s weighing you down. They’ll also listen to your worries and understand the pressure you’re feeling. Trust me, you’re never alone and the more people you talk to the more you’re going to realise that everyone is struggling with the same things.

3. Remember you have so much time

There’s decisions, sure, but not all of them have to be made straight away. You don’t have to have a five year plan or know exactly what you want to be when you graduate. Make decisions for today, tomorrow, or even next week, but don’t get too far ahead. You’ll can cross those bridges when you get to them.

Being a teenager is tough and things don’t always happen the way it does in the movies. It might feel like you’re growing up too fast, but you’re young with no mortgage or kids and there’s so many good years ahead of you to look forward to- so make the most of it.

by Kaitlyn Hudson-O'Farrell

@christinamca

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