Looking back on tween phases

Graphic by Grace ONeil

Graphic by Grace O’Neil

Emily Mears, staff writer

While growing up, we all experience life in different ways. We make new friends. We try new things. We make mistakes. We spend time trying to “discover ourselves.” Yes, during those years from elementary through high school, we go through some interesting phases. Thankfully these times are called phases because they don’t last long, and most of the time we do grow out of them. See if you remember or can relate to any of these common phases that many teens experience. 


The Emo Phase

If you went through this phase, you wore mostly black and listened to bands such as Fall Out Boy and Panic! At the Disco. Maybe you listened to these bands because you like loud, screeching music and don’t care if you can’t understand the lyrics. Maybe some just liked the aesthetic. 


Limiting career paths

For one reason or another most people you ask will say at one point they wanted the same career path as one of their parents. Or, if not, they wanted one of the Big 3: a nurse, a firefighter, or a teacher. It’s been a decade or so since we pledged our future careers to our preschool teachers, and luckily most of us have changed our minds. I’m sure some of us are still following in our parents’ footsteps or sticking with our original plan, but odds are that most of us have realized the broad range of career options out there. 


Cutting your own hair

For some it was bangs, for others just a trim, but this phase most always resulted in a quick trip to the hairdresser to fix the damage. If you didn’t cut your own hair at some point in time, you most likely know someone who did. Some of you may even have the misfortune of having a school picture taken soon after this incident. 


Wearing fake glasses

There was a time when every girl in school seemed to own a pair of fake glasses. It was quite the trend. For those of you who actually needed glasses, it was nice to be trendy for a while rather than being referred to as “four eyes.”  


Owning a fish

When we were all younger it seemed at some point in time everyone had a pet fish. Some of these were gifts from parents or Santa to teach responsibility. Or more than likely it was won by playing that one game at Old Settlers. Regardless of how you got your fish, its story was most likely short-lived and ended in the toilet bowl. 


Taking ballet

A large majority of girls end up taking ballet. Whether it was mom and dad wanting to teach you grace and elegance or the allure of the ever-enticing tutu, it just seemed like the thing to do. However, as great as it all sounded, the days in ballet slippers probably did not last long.


Filler words

For lack of a better term, let’s talk about “filler words.” You know, words such as “lit,” “like,” and “yo.” While we all used them, some teens overused them. You know who you are! Sometimes these words were so excessively used, that your friends probably still bring it up, even if the last time you said “lit” was in eighth grade. 


Wearing braces

Why is it that so many young people are cursed with crooked teeth? Bring on the braces phase. This phase is full of pain and tiny rubber bands and monthly trips to the orthodontist. (At least we could miss school regularly.) All of us metal mouths spent the majority of our middle school years smiling without showing our teeth and mourning the end of chewing gum and eating popcorn. Granted, the end result was worth it, but then we have to dread the next phase of oral health: the removal of our wisdom teeth. 


Going through awkward phases as a teenager is normal. While looking back on those phases can be embarrassing, remember it’s just part of growing up. These phases help us grow and figure out who we are and who we want to be.