Welcome to something new on the SeniorInsire blog – Teen Talk! Here you’ll find a talented crew of teen aged writers from across the United States writing about a variety of topics important to them. Pay attention, they’ve got a lot to say!

Click here to meet the TeenTalk Blog Crew!

Everyday High School Life

There comes a time in life where you need to face the reality that is the real world; high school was that time for me.

When I started high school, I realized that not everything was all happy and glittery like I was used to. You have deadlines, five page essays to write, and math problems longer than the Great Wall of China.

Despite all of these conflicts, high school can be an incredible experience.

My experience started out with cheerleading, almost every high school girl wants to be a cheerleader. I spent everyday practicing, I was devoted to it. If I’m being completely honest, I didn’t think I was going to make it.

Sure, I had experience cheerleading, but all the girls who tried out had so much potential and skill. Thankfully, I ended up making it. Cheer is a passion of mine, I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t make it.

Another passion of mine is music.I play three instruments, the clarinet, the bassoon, and the trombone. Band has hands down been my favorite part of high school. When I’m playing one of my instruments, I feel like I’ve escaped reality.

My favorite instrument to play is the bassoon which is said to be the hardest wind instrument to play. For me, it’s actually the easiest and I’ve only been playing it for a little less than a year!

For me, music isn’t just a sound, it’s an art that digs deep in my soul.

High school isn’t filled with all positives though, there are a few negatives almost everyone has to deal with. One example that everyone goes through at some point is bullying, I know my friends and I have gone through it before.

Luckily, I was able to overcome bullying by listening to advice that teachers and upperclassmen have given me. To get rid of my bullies, I did not give into them. I didn’t give them a reaction and they eventually realized that what they said, whether it was to me or about me, didn’t bother me.

I’m not saying that this method will work for everyone, but if someone came to me for advice about bullying, and they had no idea what to do, I would definitely recommend this method.

Here’s a tip, don’t isolate yourself from your peers. You will gain more friends if you put yourself out there and introduce yourself to people. If you’re shy like me, it may be a little more difficult, but I can assure you it won’t be as hard as you think!

If you’re still having trouble finding some friends, join some clubs! When joining a club, you’ll be surrounded by others who came for the same reason as you.

I guarantee no matter how independent you think you are, you’re not going to be able to get through high school yourself, that’s what friends are for.

High school can be a scary or exciting, depending on how you play your cards. Make the most of your remaining years at your school.

Morgan Rolley

Morgan Rolley

Teen Talk Blogger

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Bags of Joy from Missouri

Well…. For starters my name is Grace!

“Just a small town girl, living in a lonely world”

(Yes, I did just quote Don’t Stop Believing because it’s a classic)

All jokes aside, I live in a boring little college town in Missouri. Most people wouldn’t know this place if it weren’t for the college or some stupid news stories that have happened.

I was a pretty boring little kid for most of my life.

I have two brothers and didn’t grow up with my sister, so you can bet that I shined as a tomboy. Hunting, biking, always coming home with cuts and bruises are only a few aspects of my childhood.

My dad is military so that toughened me up a little bit more. I learned how to hunt and shoot a rifle when I was 10 or 11. Started out shooting with my older brother right away.

I never joined any sports, but I was always trying to show how I wasn’t a girly girl and that I could hang out with the boys.

I didn’t get along with girls most of the time because, well… I didn’t wear dresses — I didn’t like playing with dolls — and I definitely didn’t like makeup. I liked simple things.

Going to the park or playing in the woods is what I lived for! Other kids in my neighborhood didn’t always feel the same way. In most cases, I was the outsider.

To this day, I still have my outsider moments, but we’ll get to that…

In 1st grade I moved to the town I live in now.

Moving is never fun. Whether you are a toddler, kid, or teenager; moving causes problems. Losing friends or losing items you once held dear. Being the new kid in class that everyone stares at, believe me, I’ve been there.

Some might say I had it easy cause I was 7 and it is easier to make friends at a younger age. All that may be true, but no two situations are the same.

We all have to adjust — adapt.

As you get older things start to get easier because you get used to the town, but then another curve bag comes.

My parents split up when I was around 11 years old. At the time, I didn’t truly understand what that meant. I was a kid. I knew what divorce was but I had no idea what it really entailed.

Again, as the years go on you start to adjust and grow into the situation better.

We have all heard the sad stories of divorce so I will spear everyone my story. It has its ups and downs, but every family does no matter if your parents are married or not.

Once I got into middle school, that’s when I really found my place.


6th grade band — playing the flute. I sounded like garbage then, but it led me to a world I now call my home.

High school came and I joined all things music. Band, choir, color guard, jazz band, etc. I couldn’t have been happier.

Yeah, along the way I encountered some pretty cruel people — I was bullied, and I’ll be honest. I was a bully right back. Kids can be cruel, but again, I’ll save you from another story that you have heard a million times.

What I learned? Huh… did I learn anything?

I still make mistakes. I still have people that hurt me. I have friends that support me, and I have activities that I can turn to for happiness and peace.

Picking up my instrument or guard equipment takes the pressure off. Pushes me to better myself and to provide joy to others.

I even found my Heavenly Father and joined a church that I love with all my heart.

If you are reading this, you may have instantly been turned away by my mention of church, and THAT IS OKAY. I do not intend to persuade or preach to anyone. Church is a part of my life, and I am telling my story — so how can I leave it out?

Now, as a former high school student, I know how it feels to finally reach your word count requirement and be done with your writing, (which is my situation right now) but I have one last thing to say.

My main goal in life is to help others. Whether that is with a smile in the halls, a member in a support system for a friend, or offering guidance and help to someone I barely know. The world is a better place when people are happy.

My wish is to make someone around me happy everyday, so why not try with a blog? 🙂

“The noblest art is that of making others happy.” P.T. Barnum

Grace Bagby

Grace Bagby

Teen Talk Blogger

Follow Grace on Instagram
and on her second Instagram account

Fear of Missing Out

Throughout high school, I have often felt as if my focus on academics, participation in extracurriculars, and my more introverted/serious personality has left me missing out on the fun.

I’ve never belonged in the wild, loud, or funny crowd. I’ve never partied; I’ve never dated. And at times it’s made me feel supremely uncool.

But I shouldn’t feel that way!

Something I’ve noticed is that the “popular” crowd does not offer genuine, long term kindness or friendship. Even those who appear to be friends truly are not. They often make selfish choices and are not there when you need them.

They are not the kind of people you want to have to rely upon or be associated with. Despite how fun and cool their lifestyle may seem, the core of who they show the world they are is not a reflection of the person you are or should want to be.

Unless you’re someone who genuinely enjoys being daring and doesn’t have great concern for consequences, the behavior of typical cool kids isn’t much fun anyway. I don’t know about you, but I would be terrified if I were to play 7 Minutes in Heaven or sneak out to parties. (I’ll stick to my pizza and a movie, thanks.)

So even though it seems as if the cool crowd is having all kinds of fun, they really have a lot of unnecessary drama, partake in risky activities, and lack true friendships. For those of us not in the “popular” clique, hopefully thinking of it that way makes you feel a little better.

It should be noted that alcohol, drugs, or fooling around are not needed to have a good time. My friends and I always have fun just talking, snacking, and watching movies when we hang out.

And there are plenty of other options: beach days, shopping trips, hiking or biking, kayaking, and going to escape rooms, amusement, or water parks, to name a few.

While I can’t say for certain yet, I’d like to think that hard work for positive causes and participation in activities that are both healthy and fun will pay off in the future.

I am holding out hope that the work I put into school will lead me to success and that the efforts I make to be kind will shape me into a good person and friend who is always there for those in need. I feel it is important to be the best person you can be and set a good example for others.

I encourage you to pursue what you enjoy. But I also urge you to consider everything your pursuits will bring to your life. Think about the person you will become, the friends you will have, the reputation you may obtain, and the future you could have and may be putting at risk.

Remember that even though it looks like the cool crowd is having fun now, their actions are often destructive to their health, reputation, and sense of self.

So try not to worry about your status in the high school social hierarchy or missing out on the fun, and try to find friends who truly care for you. I am so grateful for the lasting friendships I have made throughout school.

Having these real friends will prove much more meaningful to your life than the drama and risky partying of the popular clique ever will.

Abby Palotas

Abby Palotas

Teen Talk Blogger

Create Youself

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” These are the words of the playwright George Shaw. These are the words that changed my perception of the world.

You never know what to expect in life. One day can be amazing and the next not so much. Same goes with high school.

You don’t know what to expect when you take your first steps into high school. Everyone will experience different situations that will make them who they are as their life goes on.

Though, when I say create yourself, I do not mean to become someone you are not just to fit in with the crowd. I mean to find your passions in life that make you who you are and create yourself with those passions that truly make you happy in life.

High school is a tough time for everyone, but hey, that’s life. Don’t get me wrong, you can have an amazing time as well, but it’s you who decides how you’ll live your life.

I won’t sugarcoat the realities of high school. Those who read this blog should know that just because you are ready for the great times awaiting you in high school, doesn’t mean to ignore the bad ones.

Yes, you will want to forget about the embarrassing times you had or will have in high school, and trust me I would love to forget too. Although, our mistakes make us who we are today at this very moment.

We learn to deal with life one step at a time. Even if they are smaller than baby steps, you are still making progress.

For me, the beginning of high school wasn’t a fun ride at all. After my freshman year was over, I transferred to the high school I’ll be graduating from next year.

I am more than grateful for the opportunity I had to switch schools. I love the majority of the people I’ve met there. Yet, I still make mistakes, but I’ve learned from them.

As I said earlier, you will want to forget about the traumatizing events that will occur during your time in high school, but you will never learn to move on if you forget.

One of my many mottos is, learn from your mistakes, then move on. That’s when you can forget.

After three years of pushing my mistakes to the back of my mind trying to forget them, this year I am finally trying to let myself know it was okay to make those mistakes because I’ve accepted that they have changed me into the person I am today.

You will have times in your life where you believe the crying will never stop, the angry will never cease, the embarrassment will continue, and the happiness will never end. Yet, this is what life is made up of. A constant cycle of never ending feelings.

I’ll let you know this, you will be strong enough to overcome your obstacles as long as you tell yourself you can.

That is why life isn’t about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself.

Create in you the person you would want to look up to, for your children to look up to, for generations to look up to.

Create the person in you who has been waiting to see the light after years of being told to play in the shadows. Create the masterpiece that you are.

Gabriella Femia

Gabriella Femia

Teen Talk Blogger

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Do Your Belong

Every year the Yearbook Staff Party takes place at Warehouse Pizza. Today we slowly trickled in one after another with contained excitement. The unveiling of the yearbook is an unwavering tradition and task that I will be taking on as Editor-In-Chief next school year.

The responsibilities continue to pile on as my phone buzzes with more and more college emails saying “Come Visit Us!” Some days this college process is the most exciting step towards my future, other days it is the reason I press the snooze button five times in the morning.

It was just another Thursday in Pre-Calculus, AP classes, and Visual Art, but then again there are moments that stand out at the end of the day; they are flagged like the many important emails I have yet to respond to.

One moment that blazes with vibrant color is the discussions we broke out into in my History class today. Some groups talked about marriage equality, affirmative action, police brutality, and others, like mine, discussed the #MeToo movement and sexual assault or harassment. Not only did my teacher provide us a safe space to discuss our opinions on the articles we read about these topics, but she encouraged us to exchange ideas and question why we must talk about these subjects.

I could easily stand up and say, I support marriage equality, I think black lives matter, and sexual harassment needs to be addressed adequately, not normalized; but those are the simple answers.

What happens when your family shames you for being a LGBTQ+? What do you say when the person who sexually attacks you threatens your well being if you tell on them? Not only must these questions begin to be answered, but the answer must become wide-spread, and taught throughout the country, throughout the world.

I may just be a high schooler but that title does not limit me. At this stage in my life I have participated in many college preparation programs like Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth Summer Programs, Envision Global Young Leaders Conference, and currently SCS Noonan Scholars Program.

My mom has helped remind me to balance all these hardcore academics with passions of mine like a Bay Area Girls Rock Camp where I learned to play electric guitar, drums, and performed with my own band. All of these that take place in the summer are supplemented by my participation in Girl Scouts, community service, and my dedication as the current Yearbook Photography Editor.

That long, boring paragraph of accomplishments is not how I remember those activities.

I remember faces, laughs, pictures, and unforgettable friendships. School has grown to be less of a comfortable social place for me, with its cliques and social standards. I find myself relying on these individual groups to find friends that will support me on days where the homework load is too heavy to bear, the breaks are too far away, and the teachers are relentless. Through thick and thin I can count on the people I have chosen to associate with and sometimes they remind you just how valuable your friendship is to them too.

As I was recording our Yearbook advisor accept a photo of our class on our visit to Disneyland, he started to tear up which of course made me nervously laugh since I suddenly also “got something in my eye”.

In the next instant our current Editors-In-Chief announced an award, “We are giving this award to someone who has been working hard for two years. We would have given it to them last year, but we weren’t in charge yet,” everyone laughed, “The Most Valuable Yearbookie goes to Bella.”

Goosebumps, and screaming, laughing, smiling. It was not the fact that my name was etched into the plaque, nor was it the applause, but the recognition of hard work and the hugs from two leaders who have been teaching me how to take over their spot next year.

I may just be one student in the large number of pupils across the globe, and my story is unique, but I am not that different from you. No matter whether it is soccer, choir, the high school newspaper, your robotics club, spanish club, or any other quirky, unique group of kids you are a part of, they appreciate you.

Bella Hubbard

Bella Hubbard

Teen Talk Blogger

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and her Photography Instagram

A Blank Page

A blank page. That’s all that comes to mind when I think about introducing myself.

Who am I really? Who do I want to become?

I think I have always been a little confused on that subject, but when it comes to writing about it, it’s much more apparent.

It can be quite the task to dig deep and figure out who you are. It’s even harder to reveal that to the world.

So let’s keep it simple.

The basics… I am a seventeen year old girl who lives in Northeast Ohio. I attend Niles McKinley High School, where my mom is my principal – no, I don’t get to do whatever I want – and my dad is the head football coach.

I have two little sisters: Natalie and Jillian. I play on my school’s varsity volleyball team and I hope to be a captain this year. And I’m also in my school’s drama club, which puts on a spring play every year.

Last but not least, I play the ukulele. I taught myself how to play my freshman year and I have now even moved on to writing my own songs.

And that’s that. At least that’s all I would say if I was introducing myself normally.

I think I covered all of the bases—age, state, school, activities. But sometimes I wonder if those are just the important things on the outside.

How do you introduce your inside?

Another blank page. All I can do is try, right?

I would consider myself to be a pretty decent person, as I’m sure most would.

It takes a lot for a person to truly believe it, but I think I do.

I have never understood how someone could be downright awful to another. I hope I never am.

I would also consider myself to be quite the overthinker.

You can always find me worrying about scenarios that are probably highly unlikely, but that doesn’t stop be from dwelling on them.

Even so, I’m not necessarily afraid to share those fears. Actually, I feel a lot better when I do.

When I talk to someone about something that is bothering me, even if it’s totally irrational, I almost always find myself in a better state of mind.

Another thing that is important about me is that I love love!

There is nothing more special than knowing someone cares about you in the same way that you care about them. I truly crave the idea of finding someone to love and spend my life with.

Certainly that isn’t all of my inside, but it’s a start!

If I gave it all away now, what would I have to write about later?

Now there’s one final topic I would like to discuss: my future. This is the biggest blank page of all.

Here goes nothing.

The future scares me.


Because I like to know exactly how things are going to be. For crying out loud, I plan out exactly what I’m going to say to the server taking my order at dinner.

I like to have a plan, but as for my future, I simply don’t.

At this point in my life, as an upcoming senior, I always get the questions, “Do you know what you want to do in college?” or “Where do you want to go to college?”

To be quite honest, I have absolutely no idea!

So many ideas are brought to me and none of them seem completely awful but they don’t seem amazing either.

I’m a straight A student, I’m in National Honor Society, and I’m somewhat of a perfectionist when it comes to my schoolwork, but I still don’t have a plan. The only thing I know is that I plan to go to college, find an amazing job, get married, and start a family.

Maybe that’s okay.

That leaves me with a lot of blank pages to fill, and with blank pages come great ideas.

I am a book full of blank pages. My story has just begun.

I hope throughout my time on this blog you can help me fill out a few.  

Jane Parry

Jane Parry

Teen Talk Blogger

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Listen to her music on SoundCloud

Finding a Niche

From firsthand experience, I can tell you there is nothing more frustrating in high school than feeling as if you don’t quite fit in. I am in an academic program that requires me to spend half of my day at one school, and be bussed over to another for core classes. The amount of headaches this has caused is monumental.

It’s enough to have moved into a new district and be pushed into freshman year where you know a total of two kids: it’s completely unfair to be split between two different schools, without any ties at all. Too many questions cloud your conscience, such as what sports team to root for, which homecoming dance to go to, which pep rallies to attend, and more.

The worst part of the situation? My two schools are rivals when it comes to anything sports-related.

I clearly have gotten the short end of the stick. But due to this misfortune, I’ve learned plenty of ways to deal with feelings of isolation. The following steps have been enormously helpful to me over the years, and I hope they have the same effect for you.

First, it’s important to remember that good friendships take time. And effort. Don’t give up on a potential friend just because you only have one class with them. It’s better to foster the companionship and try your hand at a deeper bond than to do nothing at all. High school can have some finnickey personalities, but most people are looking for connections as well. Don’t be afraid to ask an acquaintance to a movie or lunch – it could be the beginning of something great!

Second, be kind, thoughtful, and open with the people around you. Popularity can sprout from the girls who take pride in the amount of gossip they control, but it can also rise in the nicest girl on campus. Word of mouth is like the fast lane on a highway when it comes to teenagers: when people talk about you, it’s best if they only have good things to say. Remembering birthdays, supporting friends at sports events, visiting them at work, and more can lead to strong friendships.

This manner of gaining trust and respect as the most considerable person around will make you stand out. Being open with this friendliness is crucial – how will peers know of your traits unless you talk to them? Joining a club and putting yourself out there is a great way to become connected with those around you.

Lastly, it’s important to note that happiness isn’t found in other people. This lesson took me the longest to learn: in fact, the epiphany hit only a few months ago. Being immune to losing friends and people who bring you down is only helping you move forward in the world. Hold onto your passions; become enthusiastic about reading, writing, drawing, singing, playing a sport, photography, or anything else that brings joy. Summer is the perfect time to indulge these hobbies and grow them into a sustainable outlets to express yourself.

Make it your mission to let go of old habits, and bring in a new perspective. Stay positive in order to draw in people with the same mindset as you. There’s nothing wrong with having a few close friends and being fulfilled from within, as opposed to having tons of companions but no inner peace. Take the time to find your balance in high school to lessen your stress. Academics are a main worry, so don’t let social aspects add to this concern!

The point of high school is to prepare you for your next step in life through every experience imaginable: loneliness, heartbreak, uncertainty, and more. Don’t let it take hold of who you are as a person. Take the initiative to be in control of your own future and passions, as confidence is one of the most valuable characteristics to glean from four years in a trying environment. Make the most of high school and the opportunities within!

Ava Purcell

Ava Purcell

Teen Talk Blogger

Follow Ava on Instagram
her Instagram Photography Feed
and on Twitter

Live your passion

There’s nothing that makes me happier than spending a day under the sun and on the beach playing volleyball. For me, beach volleyball is the perfect sport because of the main component teenagers worry about: playing time. In this sport, you don’t have to worry about playing time because there is “no bench in beach”.

It is doubles style, two vs two, so you will get many touches on the ball to develop skills each match. It is great exercise, because running and jumping in the deep sand is difficult. It can be played by anyone, because sand is easy on the joints, making beach volleyball a lifetime sport. And most importantly, it is fun! There is no greater feeling than spiking a ball straight down, getting the point after a long and tiring rally, or beating good competition.

Bonuses include: it will whip your body into shape, give you distinct tan lines, and you will make friendships and connections with those you are playing with. I believe beach volleyball is the perfect sport and can be picked up by any willing athlete.

Southern California is the hub for beach volleyball, with courts set up for miles next to the strand, along the beaches of Hermosa, Santa Monica, and Pacific Palisades. However, it can be played anywhere where there is sand and a net.

It is also gaining attention in the college level, with beach volleyball being the fastest growing sport in the NCAA. Many junior level players are committing to colleges for beach as early as 8th grade. However, it is fun at both the competitive and “just for fun” level .   

I started playing at the beginning of my sophomore year, and I truly fell in love with the sport on day one. Like any beginner, I was not accustomed to the rules or ways of the game, making me an easy target for my opponents and very beatable.

However, as my passion and desire to improve grew, I became much more fun to play with and even started winning against people I would lose to a few months before.

Beach volleyball taught me a valuable life lesson, which is to believe in yourself, work hard, and ignore the voices on the outside. There were some people, including myself, that thought I could never play at the elite level: and less than 2 years after beginning the sport, I am practicing with people committed to division 1 colleges, people that inspire me to play at the next level.

Passion is essential for living a purposeful life, and this sport has given me a passion and a purpose. It is the reason I wake up everyday and want to work hard in school so I can get the grades I need to go to my dream college and play there.

It is the reason I get to practice early and leave late. It is the reason I sacrifice time with friends. But it is worth it, because of the happiness that bubbles inside me each time I play.

So go out into the world and find your passion! High school is a perfect time to experiment with activities that you may like. Even if you dislike something, it is better to try than be wondering in the future if you should have tested it out.

Be open to trying new things because you never know what is going to catch your attention. Your passion and purpose in life is waiting for you; you just have to find it.

Passion will give you direction and will make for a meaningful and fulfilling life. I challenge you, if you haven’t found something you love already, to explore, and if you explore and can’t find anything, I highly recommend beach volleyball.

Susie Lloyd

Susie Lloyd

Teen Talk Blogger

Welcome to Teen Talk

Welcome to something new on the SeniorInsire blog – Teen Talk! Here you’ll find a talented crew of teen aged writers from around the country writing about a variety of topics important to them. Pay attention, they’ve got a lot to say!

Meet the TeenTalk Blog Crew!

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