How do the choices you make in high school affect you?

  From getting blackout drunk at a friend’s party to bringing a vape to school, teenagers make many questionable choices.  High school is a time in an adolescent’s life when they experience many new things for the first time. This age range is around when many teenagers begin to partake in risk-taking behaviors.  But how do these choices affect teens later in life, and how severe are these consequences?

  Well, it all depends on exactly what it is that you do and how many times you do it.  If you are someone who oftentimes partakes in risk-taking behaviors, you are more likely to suffer more severe consequences.  For example, if you bring a vape to school, the first time you will get a ticket and most likely an MIP (Minor in Possession).  However, if you choose to do this again and get caught, you will suffer more severe consequences, such as being put on diversion or probation.

  That may seem like something that is not likely to affect you later in your life.  However, according to Psychology Today, the act of making decisions influences your preferences.  This means that partaking in risk-taking behaviors will make you more likely to prefer those behaviors and continue to participate in them.

  Another example would be trying an illicit drug.  High school is often a time when teenagers are offered or are around drugs for the first time.  Obviously, drugs affect the brain negatively. For some people, use can lead to psychological problems.  Often times, teenagers do not think about these things. However, something that seems harmless to try one time can end up affecting the way you think, act, and perceive reality forever.  You may be able to live your life and be successful despite having psychological problems from drugs. However, it will certainly be a lot harder for you, and you’ll probably regret that one mistake you made as a teenager.  This may seem like an extreme case, but it is a possibility and it is important to know what can happen when you decide to make a choice of this magnitude.

  Another form of risk-taking behavior that many teens participate in is the sending and receiving of nude pictures. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing—sexuality is something normal that adolescents begin to explore.  Where it gets risky is when something goes wrong. From getting a tip texted on you to bad blood between the sender and receiver, the police can become involved. Normally, there would be no issue; however, when people under the age of 18 are involved it seeps into the realm of child pornography.

 According to the Law Offices of M. Colin Bresee, depending on how serious the case is, the teen possessing the photos could be charged with a petty offense, or in more serious cases, receive up to 12 years in prison and be required to register as a sex-offender for life.

  Although teens tend to make a lot of naïve, questionable choices, the majority of teens work hard in school and make a strong effort to further their education.  Many choices they make are in the hopes of furthering their educations and becoming successful.

  Many teens choose to go above and beyond when it comes to academics and involve themselves in many activities.  By doing this, they not only make themselves look more appealing to colleges, but are also more well-rounded individuals.  The decision to take school seriously and make decent grades is very beneficial to the student. It can increase their chances of earning a scholarship and doing well on important tests such as the SAT and ACT.

  Although it doesn’t necessarily matter where you go to college, having ambition and good work ethic is something that will always help you in life.  It’s especially great if you begin to practice these skills as an adolescent, so that when you are in the workforce it’s natural to you.

  High school is a confusing time for teens, and the majority of us have made a mistake or two.  This article is not to say that we do not have room to make mistakes because we do. It’s about finding a balance and learning from your bad decisions so that you don’t continue to make them as an adult.  

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A teen vaping.  Photo courtesy: Wikimedia

Paige Martin, Staff Reporter

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