//Teenagers CAN be trusted to make decisions//

Something that I’ve noticed during my teenage years is that a lot of adults tend to doubt our abilities of making sensible decisions for our future. I have been in many situations where I’ve been told that I ‘don’t know what I’m doing’ in certain situations so therefore am not capable of making the right decision or where it is assumed that because I am young I ‘don’t know what I want’ in life yet. I’ve mainly encountered stuff like this at school such as, for example, we had to choose which subjects to take for GCSE and teachers kept getting involved and trying to persuade you take certain subjects and to not take others, depending on what they think is best for you. I had my mind set on taking Triple Science, History, Geography and French but on multiple occasions my friends and teachers were trying to get me take Art. In the end I stuck with my original choices but I soon came to realise that I didn’t like science at all and wished I’d taken art instead. My point is, back then I was only 12 so was very confused about EVERYTHING and my teachers were trying to push me in the direction of science because I was good at it. If they’d just let me, and the rest of my year group, make up our own minds about which subjects we wanted to do for GCSE instead of ‘targeting’ people who were good at certain subjects then I might of ended up not taking Triple Science and doing something like German or Sociology which would have interested me more.

When I reached Year 10 and the time came to start thinking about what we’d do after we’d finished school, we were bombarded with information about all of the local colleges and sixth forms and had various assemblies where representatives from each visited and basically advertised their facilities to us and seemed so determined to get us to go to there college that we left with the impression that unless we went to college xyz we would all do badly and end up with bad jobs. That probably doesn’t make much sense but that’s what it felt like. They were so focused on reminding us to ‘make the right decision’ and stating that their college is ‘best for you’ that a lot of people, my friends included, were torn between various colleges which all promised to be the best place for them. My friend had her heart set on a newly-built STEM college but when she visited for the taster day, it was nothing like it had been advertised to us and she decided to go to a different college. I was kind of the opposite – before going to the taster day for the college I’ve just enrolled in, I really didn’t like the sound of it at all but because it was the only college that did the A Levels I wanted to do, I went to the taster day anyway and ended up really liking it. It’s just frustrating how the various educational establishments were desperate to ensure we made the right decisions that we weren’t allowed to form our own opinions of the places because they didn’t trust us to make such decisions by ourselves.

Another example of when I’ve been considered ‘incapable’ of making important decisions about my future occurred today, as a matter of fact, when I went to enroll in college. For ages my school had told us that we ‘must take 4 A Level course at college’ so I’d decided I wanted to study Geography, History, French and Law. Then when I went to the taster day for college back in July, we were told that we ‘can’t take 4 A Levels’ because it would be ‘too demanding’ with the new linear system, which is fair enough and I wasn’t overly bothered about that because I’d gone off the idea of studying law anyway so decided to just do Geography, French and History. Fast forward a month to yesterday when I got my GCSE results and got way better grades than I’d expected and I still had my mind made up on these three A Levels, despite my teacher trying to persuade me to take A2 Government and Politics as I’d taken the first year of the course this year and got an A. She seemed a bit disappointed when I told her what A Levels I’d be studying at college because she thought I’d do really well if I’d carried on with Government and Politics and it would be good for me (I do kind of want to carry on with this subject because I really enjoyed it but unfortunately the qualification I did was a different exam board to the one the college does and it would be quite complicated to sort out).

Anyway, when I went to college to enroll this morning, first I had to show my GCSE results that I collected yesterday to a member of staff, who happened to be the maths teacher. Firstly, he congratulated me on my results then he asked me which A Levels I wanted to take, to which I answered French, Geography and History. Then after that he looked really annoyed and started going on about how there was a ‘problem’ because I’m apparently wasting my academic ability by not doing four A Levels and that I’d do ‘much better if I did four’ because it would ‘motivate me to work hard’. He asked me why I decided to only take three A Levels and I said it was because I wanted to focus on these three subjects to do as best as I can and that there wasn’t really a fourth I was interested in. He thought that was ‘ridiculous’ and started suggesting a fourth A Level I could take such as English Literature or Maths. I was determined to stand my ground because after all he had literally only just met me and he can’t claim to know what’s ‘best’ for me just by looking at my exam results because no one can be defined by their grades. Yet still he couldn’t accept that I’d thought through all the possibilities and had made up my own mind about what subjects I wanted to take according to what I thought was the right decision to help me get to where I want to be in the future. Eventually he let me go and carry on with my enrollment after bringing a few other members of staff into the conversation and saying ‘you’ll find that you’ll regret not taking four A Levels in a few weeks time when you start college’. I had a massive rant to my friend over texts after this as I had to wait for 45 minutes to submit my bursary application and she reassured me that I’d done the right thing in standing my ground.

That whole experience was enough to put me off enrolling in college all together but luckily the rest of the staff were much more welcoming and understanding. After I’d escaped the wrath of the maths teacher, one member of staff even said to me that she ‘doesn’t blame me for not wanting to do four A Levels’ – THANK YOU.

That just proves that some adults don’t trust teenagers to make the right decisions for our futures because they are ‘older and wiser’ so apparently know what’s best for everyone at first sight. I’m confident that I made the right decision by sticking with just Geography, History and French though as I don’t see the point of taking an extra subject just for the sake of not ‘wasting’ my academic abilities. there wasn’t another subject I really wanted to take anyway and A Levels are hard enough as it is , whether you’re doing a subject you’re interested in or not. I didn’t want to have to spend time working on a subject I don’t really care about, especially not if that meant compromising the amount of time I’d be able to spend on the subjects that are important to me. I suspect this won’t be the end of this ‘problem’ though and that when I actually start college in a few weeks the maths teacher will hunt me down and continue his efforts but at least, for now, I’m doing what I want to be doing.

I just think that the older generation just need to have more faith in teenagers that we know what we are doing with our futures and accept that we’re fully responsible for the outcome. The same goes for giving teenagers responsibilities too. I think we just need to cut teenagers some slack, you know? We have enough to deal what with having to cope with transitioning from a child into an adult and working out where we fit in society without being constantly doubted on our own decisions.

Have you experienced anything similar? Do you think teenagers should be able to be trusted to make their own decisions more freely? Let me know!

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Author: Em is Lost

I'm a teenage blogger who loves adventure and the great outdoors. I enjoy blogging about a range of topics including scouting, politics, feminism, world affairs and the life of a teenager in general.

21 thoughts on “//Teenagers CAN be trusted to make decisions//”

  1. That must have been so frustrating! I’m annoyed at that maths teacher, who does he think he is telling you what’s best for you when he doesn’t even know you? Teenagers definitely CAN make up their own minds and make good decisions. Some teenagers are even more sensible than some adults *cough* Nigel Farage and Donald Trump *cough*

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  2. I went through the same thing when i was enrolling into senior high school. The system in my country is different but basically the same thing happened to me. I was pretty good in junior high and so all my teachers wanted me to choose to do the science course. They literally counselled me to do science. My father reluctantly allowed me to do general arts and I don’t regret doing what i wanted to. I graduated this year and I’m very pleased with my results. (So is my dad) 🙂

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  3. No way, I’ve chosen Geography, History and French too. I can’t believe we have the same A-Level options. Everyone who is going to the sixth form I’m going to have picked at least maths or science. I think it’s great that you stood your ground. xx

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  4. 2 years ago, I was looking at schools and studies I could study and eventually, I found a study that I liked, but it was like below my level basically, so when I told teachers what I wanted to do they all told me that I would be bored if I started that study and that I would be wasting my brains while I could have gotten better education. I was like HELLO its my choice! And then later on I decided to do a different study and that’s where we are now haha!

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    1. Arghh I know how that feels! In my opinion, you’re going to be less bored doing something that you actually want to do than doing something that you’re just doing because it suits your abilities – I don’t understand why teachers can’t understand it! I’m glad you found something you wanted to in the end though. 🙂

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  5. Totally agree. I didn’t take chemistry this year in high school, and well, you’d think I just dropped an atom bomb on the planet with the way the teachers reacted. I am only going to be taking English/History courses in college…so WHY would I bother taking a science class just to have it drop my GPA??! Anyway, I think the message that teenagers are stupid and reckless is so ubiquitous in today’s society that adults just assume all of it true, especially when it comes to schooling. Not to rant or anything. 😛 ~Hermione

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  6. Hi! I’m currently in year 9 and I already feel bombarded by all the teachers in my school! Everything assembly, any discussion with a teacher always ends with GCSE talk or options and I’m still so confused! I have no idea what to do for options and teachers and are just shoving subjects in my face. But thank you for this post because I now know how much of a journey this is gonna be….hopefully I get my act together😂

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    1. Hey it’s okay! I felt the same at your age – it’s hard to make a decision when there is SO MUCH choice and teachers are putting pressure on you. It’s alright to be confused! I’d suggest to think about what subjects you enjoy already and new subjects that you think you’d be interested in 🙂 GCSE choices aren’t the end of the world, it’s more to help you realise what you enjoy and help you think about what you might like to go onto do in the future. When I was making my GCSE options, I knew I really enjoyed humanities and languages so I went with Geography, History and French and then I picked Triple Science as well but by the time I got to year 11 I regretted taking Triple Science because my interests changed. It’s okay if that happens to you too! Just try to think about what you like doing now and not about the future too much because by the time you get to your exams in year 11, you WILL have changed and developed as a person and even if you do end up not liking one of your choices, at least you know that that subject isn’t for you so it will make choosing what to do after college easier. 🙂 Good luck!

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      1. Reading this actually helped lots 🙂 I really enjoy humanities too any I have been thinking about doing History….but that’s as far as I’ve got😂 And thank you, I’m gonna need all the luck I can get!

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  7. Feeling suffocated by an adults desire to get you to do what they want is so exhausting because you just feel so determined to fight your own ground but then they persist so much and make you feel so insignificant that you start to think maybe they’re right, my teachers pressured me to take Spanish and it was hell on earth and when I wanted to drop it for drama they refused it! I think this is ridiculous how much of a universal problem this is for teens

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