Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Teens learn to express themselves

Today we get advice from Sarah Barry, 18, a senior at South Mecklenburg High. Sarah is a member of Charlotte Planned Parenthood's Teens Taking Action program, co-editor of the yearbook, member of four honor societies and an athlete.

On Nov. 19, Sarah participated in the Youth Expressions Summit (Y.E.S.) along with 300 students ages 12 to 19. Sarah was one of about 12 teens to help plan the youth event held at UNC Charlotte.

The program was designed by teens and focused on the most common issues students encounter, like bullying, dating, immigration, peer pressure and personal health.

Q: Why is it important for teens to express their emotions and educate themselves on healthy lifestyles?
"If teens don’t start learning how to make good decisions to promote an emotionally and physically healthy lifestyle now, they will struggle with those decisions when they are older. Making unhealthy decisions now can also have major implications on their lives down the road. In order to make the healthy decisions that are best for them, teens need to be able to understand and express their emotions."

Q: When you're tired and don't want to work anymore, how do you keep going?
"Oh wow, this question’s an interesting one for me. To be honest, the first thing that came to my mind was the ridiculous amount of diet coke that I drink. It’s the one vice I let myself turn to when I’m tired or stressed. But other than that I try to think back on some of my past accomplishments. I remind myself of how great and proud I felt after all of the work that went into reaching them and tell myself that I’ll feel the same way once I get through putting my best effort into whatever I may be working on."

Q: To be considered wise, what must you know?
"To be considered wise one must be able to understand their thoughts and feelings and be able to share advice with others while being aware that not everyone has the same beliefs, cultures and backgrounds."

Q: What has been the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome?
"The greatest obstacle I have had to overcome has been learning how to balance several groups of friends, school work, family and extracurriculars. I had to learn how to manage my time and relationships in order to be able to accomplish everything I have wanted without giving up time for my friends and family."

Q: What is a motto you tend to live by?
“Just do the best you can and that won’t go unseen," from the Avett Brothers song “Please Pardon Yourself.”

Q: What are three things everyone should always have with them?
"Chapstick, either a cell phone or money to call home and an open mind."

Q: What's one thing worth remembering in tough times?
"If you face your difficult situations with courage, you will only come out stronger in the end."

Q: What is a fun fact about yourself that readers may not know?
"I got involved in Teens Taking Action after I wrote an article for the Charlotte Observer on teen pregnancy in the media while I was a part of the Explorers program."

Q: What is the greatest thing you learned at the Y.E.S. event?
"...To never burn any bridge because you never know when you are going to have to cross it again. As someone who is always looking for more opportunities for myself, I found this incredibly insightful and a great piece of advice for the future."