The Teen Take: In Grade 12, Grade 9 seems long ago

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Elizabeth Nygren is in Grade 12 at Prince Charles Secondary School.

There are many differences between being a Grade 12 student and being a Grade 9 student. A few weeks ago, I talked with my column writing colleague, Emily Ritter-Riegling, and we discussed the differences of what it was like being a Grade 12 student and being a Grade 9 student. This included changes in friendships, schooling, responsibility, stress, maturity, and a whole other whack of things. I guess because I’m graduating this year, I’m reflecting on these differences, and how times have changed for me anyways. Grade 9 is my past, but Grade 12 is Emily’s future.

For me, Grade 9 feels like a very long time ago. I remember Grade 9 with a completely different group of friends, and math being easy. This is something I look back on with fond memories. Memories of spending Saturday nights, hanging out with friends, talking to your one friend about this one crush on this one boy. Getting really angry over something stupid that someone said. Can you blame me to be a traditional 14-year-old girl? And school was easy. Studying? What’s that? I didn’t have a job, and therefore, I had no care in the world. But the idea of having to go home at 10 on a weekend was probably the hardest part about being 14. I was immature. That’s probably the reason 12th graders look at Grade 8s and 9s with disdain. They’re loud, make bad jokes, are always in your face and they just don’t know how to chill. No wonder every grad wants to get their licence right away!

I’m starting to think we shouldn’t look at them that way. Are we jealous of their childish freedom? I’m a little jealous. Being in Grade 12 is slowly deteriorating my brain cells. There are so many things to do in so little time: applying for scholarships and university to actually having to study for tests. It’s madness! Graduation is suppose to be the best part of our lives, but currently, it’s giving me a headache. Of course I can’t wait to walk the stage — most likely tripping over myself — and receive my diploma, but it’s a lot of work getting there. And I’m not saying it’s not a good time. Well, I’m kind of saying that, but there have been some awesome experiences this year. Taking drives with my best friends, having fancy photoshoots by the lake, and just smiling and laughing in general. And don’t get me started on how it feels to be accepted into university.

There are definitely perks to being 14 and being 17. When you’re 14, you just live life, but when you’re 17, you become ambition and the world feels closer, freedom feels closer. I have so many goals, and graduation is the last step of being a kid, but the first step of adulthood. It’s probably the weirdest feeling. Next year, I’m expected to have my life planned out, but at the same time I still have to ask to go to the washroom. I’m ready for the transition, though. At least I think so. But I guess my piece of advice to all of the younger readers would be: Don’t worry about growing up too fast. Yes, it is exciting. But enjoy your time as a youngling, because it will be gone before you know it. Look forward to getting your licence, having later curfews and graduating with pride, but be a kid. Be happy, don’t be too serious, and most importantly, have fun. Adulthood is right around the corner, so it’s time to be a kid and an adult at the same time, if that makes sense.

Elizabeth Nygren is in Grade 12 at Prince Charles Secondary School. The Teen Take is a column co-ordinated by the Teen Action Committee.