I have the unique opportunity too attend the smallest public high school in the most densely populated state in America. With the smallest amount of effort, a quality education is handed to any girl in my community. This is something that girls from many other places in the world fight tirelessly for, yet the ones in my community, myself included; often take such beauty for granted. Some even view education as an ugly burden and would prefer to live a simple existence, un-misted by sociological standards and generalized expectations.
Even those of us who are usually excited by the opportunity to become educated have a number of distractions that are impossible to circumvent in a public school. Some of them include boys, clothing, and popularity, but in my opinion, the main challenge among teenage girls is drug and alcohol use. It is glorified through music and television and the pressure to take part in their consumption can buckle even those who show precedence toward their education and well being. When girls get involved in drugs, it often engulfs their lives, their studious personalities get tucked away and the longer they try to ‘up’ their social ranking by partaking in alcohol and drug consumption, the harder their studious personalities become to revive. As a result their grades fall into a dangerously steep slump and they single handedly throw away the wonderful education that was so graciously offered to them. It seems that the biggest barrier that keeps girls in my community from receiving a quality education is their choice to dabble in drugs because it too often leads to addiction.
My memory keeps me from transitioning to this tempting path in moments of pressure. I watched my much-loved cousin do it before me. My beautiful, intelligent, kind cousin slipped into mainstream teenage self-destruction. She was swallowed by a sour, overly passive persona who wanted nothing to do with anyone she loved before her addiction problems, including me. As an emotional and impressionable young girl it killed me to see her throw away all the good things she had. She has not yet recovered from the choices she made and the only good thing I can pull out of her decline is that those of us who tried so hard for years to keep her afloat will never find ourselves in her position.
I believe that a better support system, better means of communication, and alternatives to occupy our bodies and our brains are the best deterrent to the temptation of drugs and alcohol. These might include, sports, art, music, community involvement, and volunteerism. Our failures as well as our stores of success need to be heard. Active communication and participation will strengthen our social circles, our communities, and ultimately our world.