At 17 and making choices for life

“I'm 17 and can't pinpoint a time in my life that strikes me as fearless. I'm 17 and I've spent more weekends home than out. I'm 17 and I can't remember the last time I was afraid to do something and jumped anyway, but the worst part is, I can't remember the last time I was afraid.
I don't want to be stupid and use my age as an excuse for ignorance, but I do want memories. My comfort zone is a safe, sad excuse for living. - and today was the day she stopped waiting for someone to save her and decided to save herself - because if I'm afraid of anything, it's of wasting time. And I don't want to do it anymore. So this is my New Year's promise, because I always break resolutions. I never break promises.”
 

NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Above is a post I made shortly after the New Year and it wasn’t unprompted. Being a senior in high school is quite possibly the most confusing time I’ve experienced.

At my age, we have to ask to leave the room to get a drink in the same hour that we’re being asked to decide the rest of our lives. 

We’re being told to focus strictly on our studies because they’re going to determine the quality of life we will have as adults, and yet, we’re expected to live life to the fullest. 

We’re told that this is the time to make mistakes but if we do, it could be a game changer. And they wonder why adolescence is so rough.

I think however, I’m starting to catch on to what it means to grow up. I’m starting to think that growing up isn’t understanding the age you are now, but rather what you’re not.

Cheyenne Drews and her sister at 17 and 18 / Headline Surfer®Photo for Headline Surfer® / This photo was dedicated to Cheyenne Drews' best friend, Haley Denney, showmn in the middle of the second rectangle, who celebrted her 18th birthday on Jan. 2.

I’m not 17 because I know how a 17-year-old should be; I’m 17 because I know what it’s like to be 16 and 15 and every age before that.

I’m 17 because I know what learning to ride a bike was, how much double digits meant, what a first date meant. I have virtually no idea what being seventeen entails.

I just know it’s no longer 16 and not quite 18. I know it’s this incredibly awkward transition from knowing everything to knowing nothing.

I just know it’s no longer 16 and not quite 18. I know it’s this incredibly awkward transition from knowing everything to knowing nothing.

I know it’s a little terrifying but extremely exciting. I know it only happens once. Having one of the later birthdays, I’m watching my friends, one by one, turn 18 and it feels like each time, a piece of my own childhood slips away.

For one of my best friends' birthday, I sent her through town to 18 places we have distinct memories at, in a pretty difficult scavenger hunt. It all culminated at her house, where she went running into her own surprise party. I created the theme of black and white with her being the only one in color. Decorating her house were countless black and white photos of memories through the years.

As fun as the party was, the more we thought about it, the more bittersweet it was. In nine months, I don’t know if I’m going to be in the same state as my best friends and I’m just supposed to accept that?

It isn’t easy, spending 12 years in school, attaching yourself to people that you’ll inevitably leave and likely never have the same friendship with again.

It’s tempting in these last few months to just distance yourself, focus on an individual future, and prepare for the separation.

It’s tempting to just stay home because the more memories you make, the harder the fall in the end. But I suppose that could apply at any age.

You don’t know where a career might take you, what natural forces might cause separation, but you create relationships anyway. Life’s a little easier when you aren’t going at it alone. I see it kind of like the change of seasons.

You don’t notice a difference each day, maybe some subtleties, until one morning you wake up and it’s fall. Friends come and go, family fades away, but somehow, the sun also rises.

Coming from a student like me, it’s a big deal to say that there’s more to life than grades. It might seem like an obvious statement to some, but I’m just figuring it out. Life is about the relationships you make. It’s about the little moments.

Coming from a student like me, it’s a big deal to say that there’s more to life than grades. It might seem like an obvious statement to some, but I’m just figuring it out. Life is about the relationships you make. It’s about the little moments.

It’s composed of funny pictures and memories of the midnight trip to Steak and Shake, the conversations at one in the morning, the spontaneous beach visits. It’s the way one song can bring back an entire summer’s worth of experiences and how one movie can define an entire milestone.

It’s the way you can look at your best friends and know that maybe, just maybe, for the first time in your life, you have something to rely on. And then college comes around to ruin it.

But college doesn’t change everything. Sure, it breaks the routine, it gives you more freedom, but it isn’t necessarily the final step of growing up. It’s the time that you’re able to realize what it had meant to be seventeen.

Nowadays, there is so much pressure on going to college.

Location, the name, the population, the surrounding areas, so many factors are put into the minds of confused, hormonal teenagers, and college is depicted as this life stepping stone that is thrust upon us.

In actuality, it doesn’t really matter where you go, it just matters where you wind up. If you put a Harvard grad and a Daytona State grad right next to each other, I’d see no difference.

Because that Harvard grad doesn’t get to go around the rest of his or her life with a sticker that says, “I went to Harvard”, plastered on his or her forehead. The truth of the matter is, Harvard doesn’t make good lawyers, it accepts them.

A person’s talent can get them anywhere they want it to in life and they are only restricted by their own unwillingness to pursue their strengths.

Don’t tell the school board, but college isn’t everything. You should create a life you’re satisfied with, not the one that can put you the most in debt.

Follow your passion for it will lead you to purpose. And part of following your passion is being able to accept that you can no longer follow your friends.

I’m certain that the school I attend in the fall, will be full of nothing but strangers. I’m also certain, that I’ll survive. Because that’s what growing up is.

It’s knowing that I was a freshman once and I can do it again. It’s knowing that my best friends will be just a call away, but new ones might be down the hall.

It’s knowing that I should enjoy being seventeen while I can because before I know it, it’ll be gone.

So today, I’m going to be brave. I’m not going to think about tomorrow and take for granted the only day I know of for sure. I’m not going to think of the heartbreaks and the ways it could all go wrong.

So today, I’m going to be brave. I’m not going to think about tomorrow and take for granted the only day I know of for sure. I’m not going to think of the heartbreaks and the ways it could all go wrong.

I’m not going to think about being 18. And I’m not going to think about being seventeen either; I’m just going to do it.

Cheyenne Drews Picture

Short Bio

Cheyenne Drews is a 16-year-old junior at New Smyrna Beach High School. Her favorite performer is Taylor Swift and she is a member of Troupe 1903 drama club. Her favorite quote is by Eleanor Roosevelt: "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." Her blog represents to her, "one teenager’s opinion, voice, and emotions put into words that I’d love for you to read." Her blog, is now called, "Place in this World." The blog (and its contents), is the sole copyright-protected intellectual property of NSB News LLC, and cannot be reproduced, copied or published in whole or in part elsewhere without the prior expressed written permission of the publisher. NSBNews.net, VolusiaNews.net and HeadlineSurfer.com are owned by NSB News LLC. All three domains fall under the umbrella of Headline Surfer, a registered trademark.