Hey everyone, I'm Alicia. 

I'm 17 and from Allen Park High school in Michigan.  I'm here to write on teen issues that apply to a majority of different people. Believe me,  I can relate to everyone out there in one way or another. I'm a pretty well rounded person, I guess.  For the most part, I may come off as just a blond bubbly girl, if you were to meet me, but there’s a lot more to me than that... a lot that people don’t see. 

I play varsity basketball, I’m in NHS, student council, Interact, Women’s Voice, Clubs to end racial discrimination, and lots more. I'm involved in just about everything which means, my mind is all over the place. I come off as this very confident outgoing girl, but deep down, there is one thing that always bothers me... I can never stop worrying. We all worry though right? Sure. But what if some of us just cant stop. Like, right now... I'm sitting in my sisters apartment, right outside Baltimore as I write this. Two days ago I had to go through the airport alone to come visit her. So many ridiculous thoughts were running through my mind.  I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get through the Bag Check because my bag was too heavy (I’m totally an over packer), I was worried they would lose my luggage, I was worried I left something at home, I was worried about going through security, I was worried people were going to look at me like I was stupid because I had no idea what I was doing, I was worried I was going to miss my plane, I was worried about my ears popping on the plane, I was worried about who was going to sit next to me on the plane, I was worried about looking fat while I was sitting there waiting, AND ON AND ON AND ON!   Not to mention my cell phone was recently just dropped in water and now the battery doesn’t last too long. What on earth was I going to do if  my phone died before I got to the airport to meet my sister?   I wouldn’t be able to find her!   All of these thoughts wrapped my brain all at once and I found myself just wanting to cry.

This feeling isn’t unfamiliar to me.

But now, looking back, even only after a few days, all my worries were not even worth the stress! 
Everything I was worried about worked out fine. I could have just rolled with the situation and made the best of it, but instead I let my worries take over.

 
I think we hold ourselves back too often and we almost always don’t give ourselves enough credit. All these worries and crazy thoughts that consume our minds are because we lack self-confidence.  I just went to Traverse City, Michigan for the Student Council State Conference and the speakers there were amazing!  They showed me, along with 900 other people my age, that we can accomplish more than we think we can.  Also, a motivational speaker that spoke at the conference talked about the power that we have to control every situation in our life! When we come across problems or obstacles, we have the power to control our attitudes and reactions - no one can take that away from us!  It's how we handle things and deal with tough situations that makes the difference. Those are the moments where you define who you are and how you want to live your life. Adults don’t give kids our age enough credit. 

I can't tell you how many times I’ve heard
"You're only 17, what could you possibly have to worry about?"   When I hear parents or any other adult say this to me, I want to ask them if they've lost their minds! We have grades, school, jobs, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, sports, image, parents, appointments... There are so many pressures on young people today to perform and be the best we can be. The requirements for college are ridiculous and the cost, I don’t even want to think about that!
 

But, even though there are all these pressures and things we have to worry about, we can't let it control our lives. In the past year, I've realized that no one can control my life more than me, and worrying about things doesn’t change the outcome. I've realized, everything's going to be okay.

One way I've learned to deal is by writing things down. Make a list of what you have to do each day and keep a planner for long dates into the future. Focus on the present and one thing at a time.

Enjoy everything you do and stay positive! If you spend the years worrying, instead of figuring out who you are, learning from your mistakes, preparing yourself for your future and having as much fun as humanly possible, you will have regrets. You'll look back and wonder "why did I hold myself back?"

and never stop believing that you can overcome anything!

 

"My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment." - Oprah Winfrey