Monday, June 3, 2013

We are all human

Believe it or not, teenagers on the other side of the world are just like us! I recently went on a trip to South Africa with a program at my school. In South Africa we went to a high school in an old township where almost all the students are

black. We also went to a school that resides in, what used to be, a "whites-only" neighborhood, where almost all of the students are white. We (the 16 American students) got to know kids from both schools really well and coming back from the trip I felt like I had such close friends from both of the schools. One of the really amazing things, however, was that the kids from the two schools, one black and one white, became great friends with each other as well. During the trip we all set aside our differences, the color of our skin, the cultures we come from, the places we were born, and we all saw each other for what we truly are, which is human.
            Teenagers all around the world are more similar than we often expect. We all want a place to sleep and food to eat, we all want to love and we all want to be loved. We want to be accepted, included, and cared for.
            I think we often forget these things, I know I do. I even forget these things about the students I go to school with, who sit in all my classes and who do the same homework that I do. I forget the fact that we are all human and I let their gender, the color of their skin, the way they dress or the way they talk affect how I see them.
            I also know that people have done this to me. They have forgotten that I am human and treated me like I was something less than that. It’s at those moments that I feel like crumbling into the dirt below my feet, and the worst thing is, I really feel like I belong there. Unfortunately, I know this happens to a lot of other teenagers too.
            We forget that we all want the same things: love, happiness, shelter. We forget that we are all human. If you are feeling like you have been forgotten, left out, discriminated against or feeling anything else, big or small there is a place to turn. If  you want to talk confidentially to someone your age, who will not judge you and listen to who you are and what you are going through – call Teen Link at 866-461-3210.

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