DeanTeenagers are more than a stereotype. We are a generation. We are all different in many ways. But we are all the same. We all have petty things and big dreams.

As teenagers, we work hard. We may be the best procrastinators in the world, but when it’s coming down to the wire, we will get it done. We are masters of waiting until the last second, but when the last second finally arrives, we do our best work. Maybe we work best under pressure; maybe we’re just lazy. But either way, it’s undisputed — it gets done.

The normal schedule for a teenager is absurd. We get up early, go to school, hang out with our friends, participate in school clubs, go to work, do our homework, maybe go to a sports game at our school, participate in other activities — sports practice, volunteer work, playing an instrument and so on — and try to get more than five hours of sleep.

With all the physical and social activities that we do, I think it’s a miracle we have the energy to do it all again the next day.

Our social life is important. Our friends are important. Hanging out with our friends or going out on a Friday night is what we look forward to all week. After all the work we do, I think we deserve some fun. (And remember, we have only limited time with the majority of our friends.) Balancing our social life with our family and schoolwork and all our other activities and responsibilities is hard work, and sometimes the balance is uneven.

It’s bound to happen. We’re still figuring it all out.

Petty teenage problems aside, we are dreamers. We dream big and we work hard to achieve those dreams. We’ve been lucky enough to grow up in a world that tells us, over and over again, to chase our dreams. We’ve been told not to be afraid to dream. So we are the ones who dare to dream, and we are the ones that will have our big dreams come true because we work hard and refuse to give up. We’ve grown up being told to hold fast to our dreams. And we listen.

We’re not perfect. We all gossip. We all mess up. We all fail a test. We all get into stupid fights with our friends. But that’s just who we are. We’re still growing. Some facets of teenagers are stereotypical, but that’s not all we are. We are more than a stereotype. We have to be bigger than what everyone else thinks — we’re constantly surrounded by everyone else’s thoughts and judgments.

We are teenagers. We are the ones staying up until midnight just to talk to our friends. We are the ones getting up at 5 a.m. to finish our homework. We break each other down and build each other up. We are the ones other drivers shake their heads at on the road, whether we’re bad drivers or not. We are the ones who always care about what other people say about us, whether we admit it or not.

We are the future. And we’re here — petty things and big dreams alike.

Perrin Dean is a senior at Wilsonville High School. She is contributing a regular column to the Spokesman this school year.

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