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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Opinion: But I’m just a girl!: Saying goodbye to teenagehood

I want to go into this decade surrounded by loved ones, determined to continue to grow and swim through the world with joy rather than cynicism

On Oct. 3 at 11:59 p.m., I sat in my bedroom with bated breath. In a few moments, I would enter a new era of my life — a prospect that was both enchanting and terrifying. Much like Cinderella, I looked at the clock as it tolled to midnight, waiting for the fairytale transformation. 

At 12:00 a.m., the first message rolled in: “Happy birthday!” Suddenly, I was 20. 

My teenage years were formative to the person I am today. At the age of 15, I was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder. I remember in that moment — sitting in the therapist’s office — what I thought of this news. I had long suspected it, but suspecting and having one’s suspicions confirmed are two different prospects. Fifteen was an incredibly difficult year with OCD, but 16 offered a new chance. 

At 16, I self-published my first novella. It taught me that anything was achievable with dedication. By the time I was 18, I had finished writing my first full-length novel. And by the time I was 19, I was querying publishers with my adult picture book.

Teenagehood was a beautiful and complex era of self-exploration. I began to find my voice as a writer, and my identity as a person. I made it my goal to compliment people daily, something I continue to this day. Being a supportive person became essential to the ideal of who I wanted to be in this society. With every year of teenagehood, I learned something new about myself, something I am forever grateful for.

I have friends who have found themselves crying on their birthdays, afraid at the prospect of aging. We live in a society that puts pressure on us to be hammerhead shark-esque, consistently swimming forward and always sure of our goals. But I think people are more like betta fish. We are colorful, we are unique and we are filled with an ever-changing story that comes with time’s wisdom.

We should not have to be afraid of aging, yet I understand why many of us are. The future is an unknown prospect. I used to find myself frightened of the future, fearing what negativity or despair could come with a new year. However, if it were not for the surprises of the future, we would find ourselves trapped in the mundanity of monotony. 

At 20 years old, I have a decade in front of me which will be full of new adventures, new memories and new people. In one year, I will graduate from AU. The semester after that, I will start graduate school — a new opportunity for academic enrichment. I want to go into this decade surrounded by loved ones, determined to continue to grow and swim through the world with joy rather than cynicism. Aging offers a prospect for growth — something we must constantly aim towards as people.

As I end this article, I am sitting on a train heading back to AU following the holiday break. Final exams will be rough on us all, but after the darkness comes the sunrise. After all, I’m twenty years old now — it’s time to take on a new challenge.

Sophia Joseph is a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs and a columnist for The Eagle.

This article was edited by Jelinda Montes, Alexis Bernstein, Zoe Bell and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis and Charlie Mennuti.

Section 202 host Gabrielle and friends go over some sports that aren’t in the sports media spotlight often, and review some sports based on their difficulty to play. 

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