Lauren Hemmingsen of Maria Carrillo High School

By LAUREN HEMMINGSEN
MARIA CARRILLO HIGH SCHOOL, JUNIOR, 16

Getting a license, a new car, the latest fashions and having unforgettable nights with friends typically represents the “teenage dream.”
With the recession leaving deep impressions on not only adults, but teens as well, this “teenage dream” may become more of a senseless aspiration.
From first hand experience, I relate to those whose lives are under the recession’s dark shadow.
I’m not able to enjoy the simple freedom of receiving a driver’s license and a car at 16 due to my family’s decreased income. My hopes for a four-year university don’t seem realistic anymore with rising tuitions. The high cost of living on my own also keeps me from moving out of my parents’ house any time soon.
While these setbacks change my plans for the future, they’ve also helped me to create a more sensible dream. Reevaluating life around unchangeable factors isn’t a bad thing. It’s practical.
The crushing reality of the recession also forces other teens to put their lives in a more sensible perspective.
Rather than focusing on the newest iPod or who has which pair of designer jeans, some Maria Carrillo High School students must prioritize and focus on their financial problems.
Although this situation may be unfortunate and unfavorable for a couple months or for several years, in the long run these students are preparing themselves for the future.
At only 16, junior Sean LeBoeuf has an insight to the heavy weight adulthood carries. He is learning how difficult the job hunt is for teens, just as it is for adults.
Instead of relying on his mom and dad to pay for gas money for his newly acquired car, LeBoeuf wanted to get a job to pay for it instead.
Unfortunately, his ambition alone wasn’t enough to get a job. He applied for 13 jobs, which included Oliver’s Market, Tilly’s, Yogurt Time and PacSun, but without luck.
“I thought I was going to get” the job, said LeBoeuf, referring to his application at Yogurt Time.
“My dad’s friend’s daughter is the manager, so I thought I’d have a really good chance.”
Many adult Americans are experiencing the same problem. While it’s unfortunate at the moment, LeBoeuf knows how fierce the job hunt is. Reality proves that the “teenage dream” is further from reach and the future of adulthood is coming faster than he thought.
Lucky for LeBoeuf, the more experience he has, the more prepared he is for the future.
Today, wishing for this “teenage dream” may not bring you anything but disappointment.
While it’s great to have goals and ambitions, expecting a huge sweet 16 party and an endless supply of money for insignificant activities is not rational. As the economy struggles, teens should be prepared for what the future looks like for them.
According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, 250,000 families enter into foreclosure every three months.
Junior John Thompson is one of the many who pays the price for the recession.
When his family was unable to pay their mortgage, they decided to sell their house before the bank took it. They moved into a temporary apartment until they found a house to rent in Windsor.
Thompson is getting early exposure to what could happen financially to him in the future.
Bills and other expenses prevent Thompson and his older brother from obtaining new clothes, driver’s licenses and going out with friends on the weekends. When his friends ask to go paintballing or see a movie over the weekends, Thompson knows they do not understand his situation.
Friends “don’t realize that I don’t have that kind of money,” he said. Although life currently is rough for Thompson, he’s undoubtedly exposed to the reality of adulthood.
Sometimes hearing about the recession isn’t always enough. For these students, they get to see what the future may look like for them from first hand experience. As for those who aren’t directly affected by the economy, they might struggle to understand how tough it can become when the recession gets tangled in their lives.
While this “teenage dream” may be preferred, it still remains just a dream. Some teens are fortunate enough to experience this ideal lifestyle.
However, the ones who are heavily affected by the economy get a glimpse of what the future may hold. With first-hand experience, teens realize that pursuing a realistic future is essential in today’s economy. This preparation will aid these students for when they’re on their own, without the help of Mom and Dad.
While the recession causes stress and extreme change, it also leaves a lasting impression on teens’ lives.

This article was reprinted from Maria Carrillo High School’s student Puma Prensa newspaper.