Ahh, teenagers. Don't you just love them? The floppy haircuts, the incomprehensible mumbling, and the bedrooms that look like the site of a nuclear explosion. We're an interesting bunch, and sadly often frowned up by adults all over the world. Fair to say sometimes we deserve it, but I feel that sometimes when once one of our species does something negligent, we all suffer.
This week, I took this theory to the streets (the corridors of my school) and asked the general public (the inmates) what they thought about this. To my satisfaction, I came back with some pretty hard-hitting quotes I can insert into this blog (how journalist-y of me!), and after asking a few specially selected few, I can proudly incorporate a very poignant quote to make this blog post a bit better. You ready? Here it is:
"I think we are stereotyped by adults so much, they just think we are so irresponsible but they forget that they were once like that, we aren't nearly as bad as people think. It annoys me how one stupid teenager does something and then the whole world think that's what all teenagers are like. I think before people judge us they should know our stories ad realise that we aren't all the same."
Bam. Now doesn't that make this blog post so much better? But all jokes aside, I personally do believe that this is a very serious issue. The media is full of stories with an underlay about how infantile and disorderly we are, when in fact that is the smallest majority of teenagers imaginable.
I'm not going to lie, there are instances that are sucked up by the media and sometimes it is hard to overlook that one hoodie-clad 17-year-old walking up the street without thinking there is a knife hidden in there somewhere, but people need to stop believing all that they read.
Just in case you don't believe me, I've got some handy statistics to back me up. During June 2012, here were 19,382 disposals given for possession of a knife. Teenagers were the offenders in 17% of cases, and adults 83%. I know this is only one issue in a large pool of what is going wrong with teenagers, but doesn't this prove that what you hear in the media and all around you might not always be 100% true?
For a bit of a personal account, I myself have faced several occasions when I have been judged purely because of my age. This week, I was on London Underground around lunchtime in full school uniform, having left early to travel to a Sixth Form interview. The minute I stepped onto the train, I was faced with a few hostile stares and when I sat down; a couple in front of me whispered very indiscreetly, "I don't know what she's doing outside of school!"
I suppose you could see the funny side of this, but for me, it was slightly awkward. For all the lady knew, I could be on my way anywhere: the hospital, heading home to care for a sick relative, or even to a funeral. The point is sometimes we are treated as if we are deaf, knowing we won't retaliate purely because we are younger and they are older.
So that's one end of the spectrum, the slightly antagonistic way we are sometimes treated, though there's another scenario I have experienced which is something else altogether. I had bravely decided to attend an Agent's Event in Foyles in London, and I was more nervous than I had ever been. I attended with my Dad; and we were waiting in the queue going through what I had to talk about in order to impress when a friendly looking man approached me. It turned out that he was one of those 'men who tick people of lists', and as I gave my name an almost amusedly shocked expression grew on his face. As the shock evaporated once he realised that I was being deadly serious about attending, he bent down and smiled at me like I was a three-month-old baby.
"So what's your name, then?"
Now believe me, I'm not just being sensitive. The point is that teenagers are normally underestimated, and when they do decide to stand out occasionally it's looked upon that they are doing it just for a laugh.
However there is hope, all you teenagers out there. Recently a teenager has shown to the world that we are a force to be reckoned with; we have strong opinions, sensitive minds, and hearts the size of hot air balloons. Fifteen year old school girl Malala Yousafzai has proven this, and she should be seen as a sort of ambassador for teenagers throughout the world.
Malala should be what us teenagers strive to be. There was an issue she felt strongly about, and instead of standing at the sidelines and watching adults do what they wanted about girl's education she stepped in, and by doing so was appallingly shot in the head. Malala has shown us that while it seems important to care what you look like and partying with your friends, in fact if we just forget about the stereotypes adults have us under and reveal our true selves we can be seen as pretty amazing people.
Us teenagers need to learn to stand out. Maybe then, society will accept us as a group of extraordinary people who given the chance, can do some pretty amazing things.