Teen Voices: Summer Struggles of Social Media PLUS Introducing Isabella

Introducing Isabella

Isabella Dussias is a composer of classical and contemporary music. She writes, produces and sings her own original songs, which often reflect on issues that are important to today’s youth. She performed her first original piano solo at Kids Helping Kids with Cancer at age 11, and she has performed original classical piano works at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and in Vienna, Austria. Her original orchestral works have been performed locally, as well as by the Orlando Symphony Orchestra in the Walt Disney Theatre. Dussias also enjoys scoring music for film. She has been a finalist in the Marvin Hamlisch Film Scoring Competition for the last three years, as well as been involved in local contemporary music competitions. She is most passionate about writing music with messages that reflect the issues of today’s society. Look for her music on Apple Music, Spotify and at IsabellaDussias.com. Continue reading

Teen Voices: Living in Gratitude

by Hannah Adamson

“I don’t want to do my homework,” “Ugh, my room is messy,” “I don’t like the way I look today.” These types of complaints somehow manage to creep their way into our lives. At school, sometimes it seems that we are listing complaints more than actually communicating. Yes, life can be challenging sometimes, but it should not be the focal point of our perspective. Continue reading

Teen Voices: Being Present as the Future Unfolds

by Hannah Adamson

Spring has finally arrived and so has Decision Day and AP exam season. Needless to say, May is a big month for many teens, especially seniors.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, Advanced Placement (AP) courses are high school classes that are taught at a college level. In May, these courses have standardized exams that determine if students can get college credit. Many students spend countless hours studying for these exams and can find them overwhelming. Continue reading

Teen Voices: A Call to Climate Change Action

by Hannah Adamson

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: a mantra repeated in efforts to save our planet that is slowly being destroyed by humankind. As societies have industrialized and technology has progressed, our Earth has become more and more polluted. With rapid population growth and increased consumption, nature has been suffering—deforestation, overfishing, species extinction, global warming, pollution—the list goes on. These unintended consequences threaten the livelihood of “tomorrow’s generation”; recent reports released by the United Nations warn that we have only about a decade until the damage to the climate is irreversible. Continue reading

TEEN VOICES: With Uncertainty Comes Opportunities

by Hannah Adamson

The teenage years seem to be a loosely defined bridge between childhood and adulthood. It is a time when adolescents start to gain new independence and responsibilities. That said, it can be overwhelming to grow into these new roles and prepare for the future.

While it may not be intentional, I feel that society places pressure on teens to know what they want to do with their lives and have a plan on how to accomplish it. High schools’ focus on the future—rigorous academic schedules, career aptitude tests, standardized tests—is intended to help teens pursue their goals. As a young teen, however, I found it overwhelming to think about what I wanted to do with my life. It was exciting in all its possibility, but also intimidating to think I had to have it all figured out. Continue reading

Teen Voices: Building a Bridge to Middle School Confidence

by Hannah Adamson

Moving to middle school was quite a change—a bigger school, new classmates, more freedom. It was exciting, but also overwhelming. At elementary school I had found my groove; I had found a great group of friends and participated in many group activities. Sixth grade began and none of my close friends were in my classes. Everything, and everyone, was new. I did become friends with people I met and joined new school activities, but something just wasn’t right. I started to worry more about my appearance, who the “cool kids” were, why the crowded cafeteria felt lonely and if the girls laughing behind me were laughing at me or at something completely unrelated. I began to question if people really liked me, if I was accepted, if I was happy. I had all of these worries in my head, but, for the most part, always had a smile on my face. I did not want anyone to know that I was lonely and insecure; everyone else seemed to be doing just fine.  Continue reading

Teen Voices: Help Build a Kinder World, One Person at a Time

by Hannah Adamson

Uplifting humanity can start with lifting up just one person. Recently it seems that negativity has been inundating the news through violence, hate and tragedy. While we may not be able to immediately correct these major issues, as individuals we do have the power to spread positivity to those we meet. Simple acts of kindness contribute to the ripple effect that builds a better world. Here are some quick and easy ideas of how to spread positivity:  Continue reading

Teen Voices: Be Heard. Make a Difference.

As young adults and teens, we need to start taking action on issues where we want to see something changed. We can’t just look at these issues and say someone else will do it. We were given a voice so now as teens need to use it, especially on issues that affect us more than they affect adults such as school shootings. We have to stop school shootings nationwide because we are the ones sitting in the classrooms not knowing if we are safe. We are the ones that go to school every day to get a good education. We don’t go to school to worry about whether or not we will come home that day or see our parents again. We are the ones in the classrooms, so we need to be the ones to make the change.  Continue reading

TeenVoices: Back to School: What Teens Want Their Parents to Know

  • That alarm going off in the morning isn’t easy to hear. Not only do we want another five minutes… we need it. It can be difficult to transition from the “sleep-ins” of the summer to the early rises for school.
  • First day appearances are important to us. We want to make sure we show our best selves on the first day which can be hard when complicated by teen struggles like acne, bad hair days and a lack of self-confidence.
  • Cafeteria politics. With new class schedules, it’s not a guarantee that all our friends have the same lunch time, and there is somewhat of an unspoken rule that where you sit on the first day determines the rest of the year. It can be difficult to choose where to sit and find new friends within the first few minutes of lunch. 
  • Going back to the structured routine of school after the freedom of the summer can be tricky. It’s strange to go from free-flowing summer days to having lunch at a certain time and even having to ask to go to the bathroom.
  • Homework! I could go on about this one for a while. It is hard when teachers assign lots of homework, especially when we have multiple classes to worry about and extracurricular obligations.
  • Time management is a learned skill. It may take us a while to find our groove when it comes to balancing schoolwork, sports/activities and free time.
  • Tests, tests, and oh, did I mention tests? Tests are frequent and can be quite stressful, especially when there are many tests all within the same week. While we know that parents may not like the grade we get on an exam, we want you to know that the material is challenging, and we do our best.
  • Social aspects. School is so much more than just academics. It’s a mixture of trying to find the right friend group and feeling comfortable with who you are. It’s not an easy process and there is no formula to get the “right” answer. We are still discovering ourselves.
  • We will make mistakes and might not live up to perceived expectations. We need your support and understanding during these times. A discussion and collaborative approach on how to improve things is better than feeling failure and disappointment.

Really the list could go on and it varies from person to person. Just know that high-school really is hard in all its different aspects. Support and patience is valued as we go through all these back-to-school challenges.

Hannah Adamson is a senior in high school. She practices meditation and takes ThetaHealing courses with Reshma Shah in Westfield, New Jersey. September 2018

Teen Voices: The Family Connection

by Hannah Adamson

Sitting in the kitchen with my 92-year-old grandfather, listening to stories about driving tractors, plucking strawberries and carrying water from the well, I am reminded of the challenges and lessons embedded in my family’s past. While Grandad may not understand iPhones or the internet, he knows more about life than I possibly could at 17. With this in mind, I feel it is invaluable for teens like myself to take time to listen to our own histories and spend time with family.  Continue reading

Teen Voices: The Benefits of Technology in Moderation

by Hannah Adamson

Teens are often criticized for being addicted to technology and disconnected from real life. While it is true that many teens spend a lot of time using smartphones and surfing the internet, it’s important to note some of the positive effects of using such technology.  Continue reading