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Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

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Learning Your Future With a Freshie! (#101)

Photo of Lily Rae B.
Lily Rae B

It’s so weird when they tell kids to focus on high school and good grades.

Like, yes, I understand that’s important. Getting good grades and figuring out where you want to go in life is great if you’ve got that figured out. Good for you. But earlier last night, I was busy working on my career path. And guess what? 

The real world just SMACKED me in the face. Head on. They tell you to focus on grades and the square root of PI or whatever but then when you graduate, most of us don’t know that the average cost, just solely for an apartment rent, is like 1,700$?! Like, what? Where’d that come from??

I get we all understand these things will cost money when we move out, but then there is gas and electricity and AC and water?? Like, huh!?

And so, I’ve got all these things labeled and written out for myself, and I swear I almost fell out of bed when I saw the numbers all laid out in front of me.

Do I have to gather that much money before I move out?? And keep up that much while I’m at it?!

I can hardly keep up with my hair sometimes. How do you expect me to keep up with a monthly salary for my future place? All while working for college and my job and being healthy and whatever else??

I know I sound stupid to you adult people, but WHAT!!

Y’all’s life is INSANE! I have no clue how you guys figured this out. 

It’s just so crazy because all of us high schoolers think we got it set, that; “Yeah, when we hop out of high school, we are gonna get a job and have our own place and party and live the life!”

But then I see this, and I’m like, “YOU GUYS ARE IDIOTS!!”


My editor, Gerald Decker, told me something the other day along the lines of, “You guys are already there. You are just wrapping it up. You’ve already learned what you need; you’re just finishing it off.”

And now I get what he means because it is coming fast; it’s gonna hit me like a train.

Sorry, no, correction. 

Whether you’re prepared or not, being an adult will hit you like a train one way or another.

There is no dodging that train. If you jump off those tracks, you’re just gonna stumble into other tracks and get hit, and then you have to pay for health insurance, and then you’re broke out of nowhere, and you’re looking for a job and POOF!



Like a train!


Now I see the whole thing with parents worrying if we are doing something stupid or not. The parents who care don’t want us to be hit so hard. They want to pad that train, maybe wrap us in some bubble wrap. 

But they can’t stop the train.

And they can’t take the hit because they already have.

You need to take the hit yourself, or you won’t know what being hit like a train feels like, so you must learn from it.

Wow, sorry, that’s a lot of talk about trains. That’s my bad.

I feel like paying for your own place and personal needs and supplies when you are older is already painfully obvious, but I’ve never really looked it over and marked and charted things out until now. I can see that railroad sign the closer I walk.

So wow.

Besides that, I should give some thanks and congrats to all those people who have been hit by those adult trains of truth. You’ve made it far from the impact, and that’s insane. You’ve made it so far, grown and learned, and made a life, a life!! That’s amazing!

And for the people seeing the sign and going for it anyways (Because even though the sign is there, we’re teenagers, we’re gonna try to walk on fire), you guys have freakin’ got this! It’s gonna hurt. Maybe some of you will have more bubble wrap than others, either made by your strong selves or the senior-train-hit-older-kids in your lives; you guys have this. It’s gonna be a surprise, it’s gonna suck, but you know what? You’re gonna get up and be like,


And for all those people my age, just now noticing the red flashing lights, I wish the best of luck to you all! Build yourselves, your career, and your strength, and BUBBLE WRAP!! Especially that bubble wrap! You’re gonna need it!

And now, to the younger generation, not even knowing what train tracks are yet, we will be there to help get you through this, pass on our boring and maybe not-so-boring childhood stories to you, and teach you how to handle that train. We will pass on some of that super awesome bubble wrap that never popped when the train hit us because it was. Just. That. Strong. 

You guys have got this. Don’t give up. Even though it might seem easy once the train hits you, of not having to get up, if you want to see that beautiful sunset and the incredible strength you gain from the impact, you’ve got to keep yourself up. Make it to the ocean, love. It’s not that far, I promise. You deserve the world and everything more once you gain the strength to pick yourself up.

It just proves how much you’re worth.

Your future, your ocean, is worth it.

And you’ll meet fish and snakes and birds along the way. 

Regret nothing.

Everything has something, and something has nothing without everything.

Way to go, love.

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About the Contributor
Lily Rae B., Freelance writer
Lily Rae B. is a student at North Brunswick High School and a Freelance Writer for the Teen Scene.

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    Maryann K. NunnallyDec 1, 2023 at 10:52 am

    Lily Rae: Have you thought about doing stand-up comedy? This piece made me laugh all the way through. It showed me your wisdom, while I was amused by your teen-age expressions. If you have time, read some of my “Laughing in the Golden Years” to get the perspective of an 87 year old. I hope you can laugh at my writing while seeing the wisdom of an old lady who has been hit by a train more than you can possibly imagine. I will be looking for more of your work. MKN