“Enjoy Your Youth,” They Say


Jeanelle Wu

The stress of high school makes it extremely difficult for students to enjoy their youth.

Jeanelle Wu, Photojournalist

To quote one of the rising stars of our generation, Olivia Rodrigo sings in her song “Brutal,” “If someone tells me one more time, ‘enjoy your youth,’ I’m gonna cry.” As students in high school, many people have told us to enjoy being young and that these are our so-called golden years. So why do our golden years feel so dark? In elementary school, teachers try to prepare us for middle school. Once we are in middle school, we are determined to do everything to do well in high school. When you’re finally in high school, you spend the next four years pulling all-nighters, taking AP classes, and getting ready to become an adult. If during our childhood we have been learning how to become adults and preparing for life after high school, when do we get to live in the present? Before you know it, you are going to be looking back and asking yourself, “did I ever stop to just be a child?”

Many kids in elementary school and middle school, myself included, had an inaccurate interpretation of what high school is like. To some people’s disappointment, high school isn’t even close to how it is portrayed in TV shows and movies. The high schoolers on TV are never shown with loads of homework or having weekly mental breakdowns (well they have mental breakdowns but it is not usually related to schoolwork). Ironically, the people who tell us to “enjoy your youth” are the very people who make that so difficult to do. Whether it be parents, adults, teachers, or yourself pressuring you, nothing related to the pressure of high school is enjoyable. 

Younger people want to get older until they get older and finally realize how much they miss being young.

— Holden Mohler

Although it seems like grown-ups do not know what they are talking about when they tell us to “enjoy your youth,” they are probably talking from prior experience. Believe it or not, these adults were once in high school too (might seem like forever ago but still). As Holden Mohler (10) so inspirationally states, “younger people want to get older until they get older and finally realize how much they miss being young. Only then do they want to be young.” 

So how can you be successful in high school while enjoying the journey? Between AP classes, extracurriculars preparing for college, studying, and much more, enjoying your time in high school seems impossible. It might even sound more like a joke. However (although I’m sure you have heard this many times), you have the rest of your life to be an adult, and it is better to look back on your high school life knowing that you had no regrets. So although taking the hardest classes and sacrificing your sleep schedule to finish assignments seems like the most important thing ever right now, make time to hang out with your friends, be spontaneous, or go ride some roller coasters (before you’re old and your heart can’t take the adrenaline).

Enjoy your youth. It may sound like pointless advice that is easier said than done, but in case it isn’t, you would probably thank yourself more if you listened.