Teenage Years

5 Times Teenagers Made Us Question What We’re Doing With Our Lives

words by Ben | photo by @christinamca

2018 was a momentous year. We had the winter Olympics, we changed Prime Ministers for the 6th time in eight years, Ariana Grande released ‘thank u, next’ and a whole bunch of you guys graduated. Crazy!

To commemorate such a colossal year, here’s a rundown of five times young people showed the world who’s boss, which should give you a bit of momentum to roll through the rest of January.

1. The ‘March For Our Lives’ kids

We all know that in the US, a disproportionate number of shootings are still occurring across American schools, and countless young lives are being senselessly lost.

On Valentine’s Day last year, a shooter entered Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, with 17 people tragically losing their lives.

However, the students did not once think about prescribing to the fear and isolation that was expected of them, instead they enacted a watershed moment in America’s culture; they protested and stood up to the people who were accepting donations from the National Rifle Association, and the powers that be who hadn’t been doing enough to prevent the loss of young, innocent lives.

The ‘March For Our Lives’ protest was a nationwide movement, with students participating in school walk-outs and marches. This moment in history is testament to the fact that young people hold power and have real agency in determining their own futures; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

2. All the kids who came out

LGBTQ+ teens haven’t had the easiest time, not just last year- throughout history in general. However, the spirit of resilience and comradery is something that has shined throughout the queer community since the beginning of time, and 2018 was testament to that.

Straight off the back of the (successful) marriage equality plebiscite, 2018 was full of conversations regarding the discrimination against LGBTQ+ students and teachers in religious high schools, with some holding the warped belief that the discrimination could be valid.

However, students like Finn Stannard from Sydney showcased that amplifying one’s voice and experience can change the tide in ways-of-thinking.

At his graduation assembly, Finn came out to his religious high school.

“I think that’s really the biggest reason I made sure I got up onto that stage and gave the speech,” he told SBS News. “I don’t think anybody should have to go through the feeling of loss that I felt like I’d gone through.”

Finn reminded us that queer kids in religious high schools exist, that their existence shouldn’t be up for debate, and that being yourself can make waves.

3. The climate change kids

At the end of November, thousands of school kids across the country rallied together in the hopes that change will be sparked in regard to the super pressing issue of climate change.

Approximately 10,000 students flocked down to Martin Place with posters and a passion for making their voices heard against the lack of action on climate change. Young people, throughout history, have been the propagators of change, and 2018 showcased that this fact is still true today.

4. The YouTube kid

The highest earning YouTubers of 2018 was recently released, and incredibly, the highest earner was a 7-year-old from America who has made his moolah from reviewing toys on YouTube. While technically not a teenager, this was impressive enough to make the cut.

Ryan has a Youtube channel with 17 million followers and a toyline available internationally, which meant he raked in 22 million dollars just last year. As much as it makes me question wtf I’m doing with my life, and why my parents didn’t force me in front of a camera to start a Youtube career when I was 7-years-old, you can’t help but congratulate the kid.

👏Get 👏 that👏 coin 👏 Ryan👏

5. You guys

Your 2018 could have been incredible or it could’ve been complete shit. Chances are, it was a bit of both, and that’s okay.

If you’ve recently graduated, congrats! Finishing high school is a feat within itself and beginning the next chapter is something that’s equally nerve-wracking and exciting, but no stress; you’re going to be sweet, we promise.

If you’re starting Year 12, or at another point in your life life, this year there’s going to be laughs, there’s going to be tears, but again, you’ll be okay. Promise.