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Let me color outside of the lines

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I have 162 unread college emails in my school inbox from the month of November and over 780 total emails in my “College Emails” folder. Tenth grade to present has become a constant stream of college recruitment messages from the moment I took the first PSAT, whether it be from email or snail mail.
High schoolers get it. And, we hear it all the time from our teachers, parents and college counselors.
“You need to get good grades.”
“You need to do community service.”
“You need to play sports.”
“You need to apply for scholarships.”
The reason?
“Because it looks good on college applications.”
Students, particularly juniors and seniors, are force-fed those lines all too often. We know what we need to do, and we are too busy preparing for our adult lives that we forget that we are not, in fact, adults.
We are teenagers.
The problem lies with the adults in our lives who consistently push us to prepare for the future, forgetting to give us time to act our age, let alone sleep.
According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, teenagers get approximately 7 to 7.5 hours of sleep a night, when really we need more than 9. Teens have ridiculously heavy schedules, and this preventions us from doing the activities that we want or even need to do, such as sleep.
We are teenagers, and we have worked hard to get where we are at.
Chores, socialization, jobs, extracurriculars and countless other delegations we are told that we have to do by our parents, teachers and college advisers, all the while having to dry-swallow their preachings about how we are over complicating the whole college process, well, it is overwhelming.
According to the American Psychological Association, in 2009, “Over a quarter (29 percent) of children ages 13-17 reported that they worry about getting into a good college and deciding what to do after high school, when only 5 percent of parents of 13–17‐year‐olds agreed that this was a source of stress for their child.”
Of course, some students do need a push in the college direction, but, there are a lot of diligent students who know what they have to do, and constantly being on them all the time adds mounds of stress.
So, for the sake of every hard-working teenager’s mental health and childhood, lay off.
Many juniors and seniors already juggle a job, school and sports. Many have to pay for their own gasoline, and may have to pay off loans to their parents. Teens have enough stress as it is without having to worry about their futures every time they get a second to breathe.
Hey, juniors and seniors. Do not think about college today. A college is not going to disappear overnight, so regroup today, focus on your future tomorrow. Go do something that you enjoy and escape for a little while, and go be a teenager.

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