Acknowledging the Problem

The majority of high school students across America would agree on one thing: High school absolutely sucks.

The majority of high school students across America would agree on one thing: High school absolutely sucks. Academics has suddenly started to require actual studying. Tests can take multiple hours; essays, multiple pages. Having a social life now requires intricate public displays and expert navigation on the seas of drama. Meanwhile, the prospect of college—and adult life—has stopped looking so distant, and students are scrambling to find themselves—and figure out what the phrase “finding yourself” even means. It’s a soul-searching, identity-building, disaster-mode version of life. And it drags on for four whole years. Faced with this ‘harsh’ reality, what’s a high schooler to do but complain?

Meanwhile, the adults in our lives take it upon themselves to take us down a few pegs. Their faces puff in indignation, their brows furrow in anger. In their day, young adults likely didn’t go off to college, or if they did, you can be sure it was on foot, all three-mile treks through five-foot snowdrifts and driving rains. And although none of them will mention this fact, you can also be sure it was far more affordable and far easier to get into a top school.

Yes, all of these descriptions are just parodies of teenage life and adult responses to it. Or perhaps they completely misrepresent who teenagers—particularly teenage Lawrentians—are. Though there are certainly exceptions, the majority of Lawrentians are, at heart, honest, hardworking students searching for direction, who came to this school prepared to work hard and determined to make others proud. A sizeable proportion of Lawrentians work too much rather than too little, apologize too often rather than too infrequently. In fact, many are self-aware to a fault: Most of the teenagers on the Lawrence board, for example, state outright that they complain too much, as if attempting to apologize for their generation’s perceived wrongs. The complaining, if there is any, is often done in a tongue-in-cheek way.

However, the way teenagers have been misrepresented by others, especially adults, almost pales in comparison to how teenagers mischaracterize the adults in their lives. We at Lawrenceville are fortunate to have an administration that actively tries to listen to us, one that takes our problems seriously, as it has demonstrated time and time again when it implements new changes in pace. Beyond the administration, we have been gifted with teachers who, even when they’re assigned to play the role of parent, actually make an effort. If there are any adults giving us flack for complaining, it’s usually only when they’ve caught us whinging for laughs.

So why, then, do so many members of the community, both students and adults alike, assume that, when students say they’re having trouble keeping up with Lawrenceville’s pace of life, they’re simply complaining too much? Why must we always suspect that the adults don’t truly care about making life on campus more bearable? Why is it that, when members of our community try to solve a problem with our pace of life, we must all accuse those affected by that problem of simply being wrong?

We now need to realize that all of us—teachers, administrators, and students alike—are trying their hardest to make Lawrenceville a better place. And instead of brushing off problems that arise, we should take the time to care.

-KX