“Life is bigger than the Screen” by Julia Shohbozian
A junior in high school, Julia Shohbozian left her traditional high school campus at the end of her sophomore year, and opted for an independent study program which gives her freedom to take more classes at Sierra College and engage in community work. She serves on the Placer County Youth Commission and the Leadership Committee for the Coalition for Placer Youth. This article is the first in her new column, “Life is Bigger than the Screen.”
All your “friends” are going to forget you.
Sorry to break it to you. But here’s the thing: self worth shouldn’t be measured by how many people follow you on Instagram. I know it’s exciting to have a lot of followers, and for some people it’s about the competitiveness of it. However, the person with the most followers is less likely to be the person your high school class remembers, the person who makes it big.
Finding my passion has really changed my life for the better, I don’t feel so much like a disastrous teen.
What are you passionate about?
A great way to make genuine friends is to of course, be yourself and don’t be afraid to start a conversation with someone you don’t know. This fear took me a long time to get over, in fact, I left public high school all together! I now realize, regardless of the other reasons for leaving, that I was wrong for feeling threatened or smaller than my classmates.
Finding your passion is another thing that will most likely lead you to making more real friends. A busy high school schedule doesn’t leave too much time to spend on self-discovery and self-love, however I highly recommend doing your best to take the time to find these things within you. You will realize what truly makes you happy. I promise you that if you go after a passion that you truly enjoy, you will be able to connect with others who are similar to yourself. Everything online is fleeting, it’s only there for the moment you stop to glance at it, before scrolling past it like hundreds of other posts. The problem with spending mass amounts of your time on your phone, on social media, is that the time spent won’t realize much once you’re finished with it. On the other hand, the great thing about spending time on your passions is that the time spent is rewarded with a special part of your identity that can make you feel more confident and content.
Something that I love to do with my friends is bake and cook. I’m always play head-chef, and they don’t mind, they love love to sit and have fresh baked treats and tea with me. I think it’s fun and it’s unique. We don’t have to go to Starbucks to sit together and talk. Plus, you get a lot more laughter when you’re throwing around flour and spoons in your kitchen. Since most everyone else is posting, your contributions inevitably get lost in the sea of pixels. It’s possible that the person people won’t forget is the one who makes them put their screens down. Having fun in the kitchen is my way of getting my friends to put down their phones, besides, teenagers love food! I mentioned earlier self-love and self-discovery.
When I left the overcrowded, fast-moving public high school I found that I had a lot more time and energy to put into myself. This time in fact, is what led me to find my passion in baking and cooking. I also now spend more time with my community projects and I’m able to get my voice heard more. My community projects especially make me feel more confident and happy because, “oh my- these people are taking what I say seriously!” this is great! I take time everyday to go for walk, do some yoga, and doodle in my inspiration notebook. Finding my passion has really changed my life for the better, I don’t feel so much like a disastrous teen.
Connecting with parents
Truthfully, parents can help youth find their passion and their true friends by providing positive responses to whatever they independently choose to try. I am going to emphasize “independently”. Do not tell them they should do something or you wish they would have stayed involved with something you wanted them to do. I didn’t find my passion in anything that my parents had me try. I used to feel guilty and sad when they told me I should have stayed with something. Let your teen find their passion by themselves. To put it simply, be casual and go with the flow. It always helps if you’re willing to give them the tools they want and need, and the time to drive them around, etc. This may make it sound like all pain and no gain for the parent, however, you’ll end up with a happier, more confident teen who is able to spend quality time with actual people.
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