High school in the 21 century, from a teenager’s perspective

I surveyed my peers to find out what high school is really like for them.

In high school we get together with our friends and gain new skills to use in the real world. I feel safe in my school, even though I know that there are bad souls lurking around, like bullies and other mischief makers. In my city, you come to high school for five years. Every year you come back from summer vacation to school there are always some changes, whether they are new friends or new trends. School is just full of many surprises.

Entering a high school environment wasn’t easy for everyone. I surveyed 50 of my peers on their experiences in high school and the data I gathered will show you what the life of an ordinary high school student is like.

In fact, most people say that they felt “somewhat” comfortable when they were entering a public high school environment for the very first time. One sixth of teens say that they were “very” comfortable and ready to enter into the new atmosphere. Only 5% of the people who took the survey were not so excited and not comfortable at all.

        One of the things that made me a little uncomfortable was all the swearing I heard. It seemed like everyone was swearing. I didn’t know what to think. When my friend said a swear word I was so shocked but she told me that swearing was normal in high school. You might think that I started to swear to fit in but I still don’t swear and I am the only one amongst my friends that doesn’t swear at all.  About 96% people from my class are fine with people swearing.

While students tend show up to high school feeling comfortable, that doesn’t mean they don’t get stressed. 86% of the people say that life in high school is more stressful than life in elementary. Only 6% of the people I surveyed believe that elementary school is more stressful, and only 8% think that its equal stress in both.

In order to deal with that stress, a lot of people turn to music. When I surveyed my peers about their musical tastes, I found that most listen to hip hop. Some popular artists that they cited include  Drake, MGK, Eminem, Logic, xxxtentacion, Jaden Smith, and Migos. others listen to pop like Ariana Grande and Jaden Smith, and others listen to metal. Some of my friend play heavy metal or kawaii metal during lunch hours. One of my friends listens to 5sos, BlackBears, Jessie J and a bunch of other mixes in music. I personally prefer to listen to game soundtracks and other music without lyrics.

Social media life is huge in high school, but unlike our parents, students don’t use Facebook. Only 9 out of the 50 people that took my survey use Facebook. I only have Facebook to save my game data. Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat are the most popular social media platforms in school (although the Twitter usage is probably higher among the particular group of students I surveyed since we use it when we are writing for 8forty.) Some teens have more than three social media platforms. My friends posts things all the time, for instance, they will post pics of them doing homework, going to a store, pics of them and their friends, a picture of themself with a filter, etc. Some people post things like them smoking or vaping. Usually people will ask for your Instagram or your Snapchat instead of asking for your number. I just ask for my friends number.

When I first entered high school “streaks” were a huge thing. Streaks is a thing on Snapchat where people exchange pictures everyday, counting how many days in a row they can keep it up for. Before they send a picture to all their friends, they  write an “S” on it, to announce it is for the streaks, implying that you should reply back. There’s different types of emojis that pops up for the amount of weeks or months of your streak.

People say that for job interviews, you always want to look your best, but for school you might want to wear something fashionable or comfortable. 28 of the 50 people I surveyed said that they wear something comfortable or something nice depending on how they are feeling on that day. 18 said they just wear something comfortable. I see lots of my peers wear hugh sweaters to school. One of my friends wore her dad’s sweater because she says it’s very comfortable and warm. Just 4 out of 50 say they always try to look their best when going to school. Some of my friends wear crop tops and tops that reveal a little bit of the chest area plus makeup.

Phones are a huge part of growing up. Everyone want a phone so they can play games, text and call their friends. Parents that are reading this article may be interested to know that the info I gathered shows that most teens use their phones during class very often, and for 30% not so often. But don’t worry too much because most kids are focused on the lesson, while only 8% get distracted. I use my phone once a while, but I mostly use it at lunch or when I am finished my work.

The school is full of unique teens with lots of different perspectives. In this era, the school system is changing rapidly. Now some classes do not even use paper anymore—we do it all on computers. (Apparently, you could even take Physical Education (P.E.) on the computer over the summer break, and just upload videos and journals showing your activities.) Every child has their own type of interest. What I found in my survey was that most teens like P.E. the best. Math and Science tied for second with 19 likes. English was a close third with 17. Less-liked subjects included the electives: 5 for Language classes and 3 for Art. For me, my favorite classes in school have to be Math, Science, and Art. Science is technically my favorite subject because I love learning about the elements, chemistry and biology.

The 21th century is a very interesting time, where school systems are evolving around technology more. Don’t forget all the new trends racing through people’s minds. What you wear and social media are two of the most important factors in a teenager’s life. Some can’t even come to school without putting makeup on or making their hair look perfect. High school life is a very stressful and interesting life, so be prepared. But I believe that overall, a high school life is a amazing experience.

Image credit: pixabay / elizabethaferry

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