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Jun 13, 2019

by Laura Ferri '17

The 21st century is a century of extremely rapid change under every aspect. 2016 was a year where the hopes and expectations for new generations varied from non-existent to sky-high. The generation of teenagers today, together with their needs, their dreams, and their priorities, is extremely controversial.

On one side, we find those teenagers who appear empty, interest-free, and caring exclusively about superficial issues. Often, those are seen as the great majority, and the future does not seem bright.

On the other side, there are ambitious teenagers, who find interest in education, and service, and do not stop to seek for their true passions. In a world dominated by social media, where Instagram and Facebook have become the only way to show who you really are, or to pretend to be someone else, iPhones have become the extension of a teenager’s hand, incorporated in their flesh. All they need is a pass-grade at school, a good selfie to get plenty of likes, and fashionable items to distinguish themselves (or not) from the mass.

The only distraction has become scrolling through their Twitter feed, or keeping up-to-date with their favorite Instagram celebrities. Going out with friends is an opportunity to take good pictures of yourself, good food, or original landscapes with cheesy quotes.

The only thing they wait for, during the week, are Fridays, and Saturdays, to party all night, get drunk or high, and show off the best outfits for their innumerable crushes. Sundays, for this category of teens, has become “hangover Sunday”, or an opportunity to brag about the insane amount of
studying, the time spent procrastinating, or “Mondays trauma” on Snapchat.

Where has the pleasure to travel through a good book and falling asleep appreciating the power of words gone, instead of “Netflix and chill” and the unhealthy light of a brand new Macbook air?

Where is the interest for current affairs, the wonders of science, or the simplicity of taking a walk in silence through the cities? And the appreciation of art, music, or forms of expression which go beyond One Direction and Justin Bieber?

Fortunately, what teens want, need, and talk about is often much more different and complex than the description above. We are a generation which could not be more varied and perhaps balanced.

Yes, everyone has superficial interests and different priorities in life, but at least we all have in common the ambition to be happy, even if interpreted and lived in radically different ways. Innumerable teenagers today have the dream of changing the world, of contributing to make a difference, and to make a “small step for man, and a giant leap for humanity”.

In high school, we can find exceptional writers, mathematicians, scientists, and artists, who only need, want, and talk about their passion, recognizing their strengths, their limitations, and the way to constantly improve and find themselves.

Everyone has a distinct way to do so, but we all have in common the desire to pursue, and live, a balanced life, with the experiences and mistakes that all teenagers have the right to go through.