Four times a year, we ask our readers to write about the impact recent stories have had on teens around the country. In Fall 2021, we had a range of responses from writers connecting to stories about peer pressure, depression, and bullying. Congratulations to our winners and be sure to apply for our next contest for Spring 2022.
9th grade, St. Catharine Academy
Hello Tianna Bowman,
I am a girl from St. Catharine Academy. Your story, “Smoking Weed to Fit In“ was wonderful to read. I recently dealt with the same situation but mainly with drinking. I have a hard time loving myself sometimes. On September 16, 2020, my old friends were forcing me to drink for fun and I didn’t want to drink at all. So me trying to blend in, I pretended to drink Patron while they filmed me even after I told them not to. At that moment I wanted to cry because nobody should be in the position that I was in. I felt after, Why should people drink just to feel popular? Once they posted it on social media, one of my “so called friends” screenshot everything from the story and sent it to our parents. I was so scared of what my mom would say. At first, she started to scream at me, but when she realized she did it as a teenager, she understood. Looking back on the situation, I realized I don’t need approval from people to be who I am. You are very brave to write about your experience. If it were me, I wouldn’t be brave enough to do so. Thank you for writing your story, it really touched me. When I read through it, it gave me more of a sense of me being a human being. I am more grateful for having people around me to give me the courage of self-love.
Miriam Muntasser, 15
10th grade, Leaders High School
Your experiences in “How I Beat My Depression” resonated deep within me because I know the constant attempt to hide mental pain only contributes to the burden. Faking a smile to please an imaginary crowd while suppressing your emotions can only go on for so long before your facade deteriorates. Our true similarities hit me when I had learned about the constant emotionless characters that have resided in your life; they make us think that we are undeserving of affection because we no longer expect to receive it. Lacking affection from those who should love you most, places us in a state of loneliness sculpted in the idea that we’re on our own. As my yearning to restore my mindset and life expanded, I felt that throwing my heart into the public and asking for help would be fruitless. Countless teenagers, including myself, don’t know how to ask for assistance or when to confide. Therefore, reading your confessions about reaching out and opening up made me feel as if it’s crucial to let our generation know that there is hope. Ultimately, who is to define our lives?
9th grade, Brooklyn Prep High School
There have been a lot of times where I witnessed bullying, either in public or online. This story, “An Apology in Action,“ reminded me how there was always bullying I witnessed in primary and middle school. I was even in on the bullying at some point. In 3rd grade, this boy used to have an unpleasant smell. None of the kids liked it, so they would say things behind his back, including me. Now, I realized that was wrong. This story reminded me to not judge someone, because you never know what they are going through, and what problems they have to face every day, whether it’s a disability, depression, puberty, or just personal problems. This story had a strong impact on me because it inspires me to do better and treat the world better.
Teens: Enter the writing contest for a chance to win prize money! Apply through our Writing Contest page for Spring 2022.