Previously a semi-rant I put in one of my school papers for English class.

These days are the beginning of troubled times for us of the teenage persuasion. We must balance our two basic needs: Money, and Education, with a large assortment of other, less important, requirements for life. Things such as sleep, and food, and making sure your life doesn't fall into the monotonous drawl of empty actions that can easily fill every moment of the day. Sleep is the least essential of the needs; this is the time of the night owl, if you walk along the street at 2 o' clock in the morning you will most likely not see anyone over the age of 25. There will be groups of teenagers, groups of 3 to 25, their voices call out, their loudness grows inversly to how legal their actions may be. Not that teenagers aren't law abiding, but every once and a while they get the need for a few drinks, or maybe a doobie in the park

Parents worry about their children, that could almost be narrowed down to being the cause of it all. They take measures to assure their children's well beings in the future. "I'm sorry but you need to take responsibility for yourself one of these days, I'm cuttin' off your allowance until you get a job." They sometimes seem to lose their capability for logical thinking along the way. "So will you give me my allowance back when I get a job?" But the fact of the matter is that they feed, shelter, and clothe us, so there isn't much that we can really do about the issue. "No, of course not, you'll be making your own money, you won't need any from me."

When we get a job the last chances for sleep are gone. The math is fairly simple, shifts tend to be eight hours long, and school gets out at about 3:30. When you factor in transport time you will be leaving work at midnight. If you worked, slept, and went to school all in the same building you would just be about to manage eight and a half hours of sleep, in your clothes, with no chance to shower. Ever wondered why so many people talk about falling asleep in class? Well, no need to any more, the answer's right there.

The results of all this is that yes, we get our money. Working in a multitude of fast food places, tired and sweating over hot ovens/fryers and in the case of McDonalds pig fat. We get the least they can possibly give us. We have no unions, and therefore no benefits. And the companies, they get a fleet of cheap workers, and an endless supply. Yes, we get our education, we even get the marks for it if we want to stay up past 1 in the morning every night. We'll even have the cash to make it in to university if we get the marks to get in, but enough with that, this journalist is going to go get some sleep, nutrition break has started.

I work at a mall in a chain of trendy girl clothing store. Never having worked at a mall I was astounded - literally left speechless - to find out the average age of my co-workers.

Sixteen. My co-workers are sixteen years old. I myself am 22 and have a hard enough time fitting sleep and work together as it is and the idea of a sixteen year old fitting work, sleep, school, church, boyfriends, girlfriends, and the other million things that come with adolescence absolutely boggles my mind. These girls work hard and all the while talk of trying to fit in homework on their 15 minute break as well as fit in a date for Saturday IF they aren't working. Maybe I wasn't responsible enough at sixteen to do these things that these children do without blinking or maybe it is the sign of a society which youth is fast becoming a yester-year trend. I honestly can't decide which I think it is.

I both admire and pity these girls. I could not have done what they are doing when I was sixteen with the finesse and stride they seem to be taking it in. There is also that sadness that they are finding out all too early the there are never enough hours in the day and one has to play "rob Peter to pay Paul" just to survive. And yet here they are - in the most turbulent and confusing time of any person's life - doing just that.

I may be twenty-two, but these teenagers have a lot to teach me.

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