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Chuck's column: It's tough being a freshman

We hear again and again that we often don't get it. We don't know what it's like to be our students. Regardless of the fact we were their age once, we just don't get what it's like to be their age today. Consequently, I thought I'd ask them. In today's world, what is one of the toughest parts of being your age? I asked this question of my freshmen. Here is a cross-section of their responses. "From the Mouths of Babes," ladies and gentlemen.

"No one trusts the teenager. Everyone believes that all teenagers are reckless and carefree. They don't believe that you have the maturity to do important things. Everyone looks down upon you even if you are reputable and mature."

"I think the toughest thing a teenager goes through is the pressure of the future. Colleges want high-grading students so students are stressed to achieve high grades." Remember, these are freshmen responding.

"I just think it's sleep. There's too much to do."

"The hardest part about being a kid my age is going through problems and struggles and not having anyone help you through it or giving you advice of what to do."

"Not being able to drive and having to find rides everywhere!"

"The toughest thing about being the age that I am is trying to persuade myself that I can only change the things I do and that I can't change what others do."

"The hardest part about being a freshman is that your friends start hanging out with older people and start making decisions they said they'd 'never do.' "

"Feeling like I'm too old for something I still enjoy now."

"The hardest thing about being my age is dealing with others who are the same age. They're going to school for all the wrong reasons (and just don't seem to care), are disruptive and just relatively immature. I'm not going to say I'm really mature, but mature enough to know what's right and what's wrong."

"The hardest part about being the age I am is dealing with adults."

"Too old to be treated like a kid, and too young to be treated like an adult."

"Being accepted for who you are is easily one of the toughest things that a person has to experience at this age. Obviously, many people want everyone to like and accept you, but some people just aren't going to. That's the reality of it."

"Not being taken seriously."

And then, there's this. "The toughest thing about being the age I am is that your emotions are constantly conflicting. It's like you're drowning when everyone else around you is breathing."

Do we forget what it was like to be their age? Or is it just that since we are the age we are now, we see that all of those feelings were somewhat silly because we survived them all, and our perspective now is so very different.

I think it's just about the toughest part of this job. And the more I do it, the harder it is to remember all of this is new to each of them, each and every year. All we can really do is to try to give them that valuable perspective and to let them know whatever obstacles they think exist for them now, the path will clear itself soon enough. It was all about perseverance for us as kids. It still is, I guess.

Next week, how about we talk Prom? Ok? Good. It's a date!