Tiny Blessing
Lately I’ve been stressing about several things. The main basis of my problems consist of financial issues. The lack of a job times a bunch of bills equals stress. I know without a shadow of doubt that I’m not the only one facing this horrible problem. But in the small ways, the issue can be a tiny blessing. Because the lack of money can force you to do other things for fun that doesn’t require any finances thus causing you to save money when you do have it. As for necessities, I’m going to need a job or financial aid to help me in that struggle.
-Kevis, 18


No Real Job
I’ve been stressed out about the meetings regarding our group. It’s a lot of responsibility, and it’s becoming very difficult without an incentive. I have to make sure I’m early or on time to every meeting, and engage everyone in what we’re doing. On top of that new responsibility, I have to make sure I keep producing my own quality work.

Also, as I fall deeper into this workload, I still have no real job. I continue to try to apply for the IRS, but I have no Internet access. It becomes more and more difficult everyday trying to live without money. I have no means of buying clothes (or materials for them) for the approaching season. I have been wearing the same clothes and some of the same shoes for years now, and they’re beginning to break down very rapidly.

Other than that almost everything has been going well for me. I’ve started to hang out with old friends and catch up on all the things we’ve missed out on. That’s actually one of my biggest stress relievers.
-Jaleesa, 20


Never Simple
For the last couple days I have been thinking about getting my diploma and getting into art school but I’m scared I won’t and can’t do it. My grandma is no help she tells me what’s the point, you’re going to quit, you can’t do it. Now that the baby is in my life, it doesn’t seem like much has changed but a new name in my mind, a person more to think about. I’m back in high school but it just seems pointless.

My friend wants me to go to college with him and I told him yes, so I can’t change that now. I talked to the college and I have a meeting with someone there on Friday. So there is really nothing I can do but to go maybe at the last minute. I can say I changed my mind. I don’t know. Hope it gets better for me if that’s possible. My life is never simple.
-“Omar”, 18


Rewind The Clock
Recently the thing I’ve been stressing about lately is trying to find the right college to attend next year. Everything seems to be moving so fast I can’t believe that three years of my life has passed me by and I’m staring reality in the face. I’m no longer that little girl I used to be twelve years ago all worry free without a care in the world. Now I’m seventeen and getting ready to make one of the biggest decisions of my life, which I don’t think I am completely ready for. I used to wish that this day would come and now that it has, all I really want to do is rewind the clock back to when I was five so I wouldn’t have to worry about growing up and college admissions.

But in reality there is no possible way to do so, I’m just going to have to do the best I can at getting through all the rough spots. No more being a little baby that her parents have to take care of her or point her in the right direction. It feels like I’m free falling from a tight rope and there is no net to catch me when I screw up. It’s all up to me now. I’m holding my future in my hands and not letting it go.
-Gracie, 17


Losing The Bond
I’m not really stressed. I’m more worried about me and my little sister’s relationship. Before we used to be really close and talk about everything. We would go to the movies or to the mall or just go to the pizza place up the street, but now it’s just like we hardly see each other cause she goes to practice and I go to night school, and by the end of the day we are both tired so no conversations spark up. But the funny thing is that we both find time to argue. We used to dress the same but now we get mad at each other cause we are dressed alike.

I kind of think this is partially my fault but not really cause lately I won’t go outside and jump rope with her or I won’t play basketball but it’s just that I’m too tired. But she would get mad cause I would go to our cousin’s house for the weekend or to my friend’s house. It’s not my fault her friends aren’t home or that she got in trouble that week. It’s just kind of frustrating cause I try and talk to her but she gives me an attitude. I don’t know, I think I should just go hang out with other people. I think I’m getting to old for her. Maybe it’s because we stay in the house with each other all the time. I don’t know I should just act like this whole situation doesn’t bug me. I’m not really stressing out but umm yeah I’m kind of….
-MM, 16


Making It This Far
Lately I’ve been stressed out about my future. I know it may seem like 18 is too young to really care about my future, but it’s never too early to stress about what will happen next. “What will happen next” or “what now” are constant questions I ask myself. It’s constantly on my mind now more than ever as a senior in high school. Senior year, the bitter sweet last year of high school that everyone waits for, but what have I really been waiting for? Have I waited this whole time for the test after test, homework, college admission statements, college this and college that? This is what it really has come down to, my senior year, what’s there not to stress about? I’ve finally made it this far!

What really makes senior year different from every other year is the college that follows. In elementary, middle, and high school, it was almost as if there was always a guaranteed spot for you, but in college, its no longer guaranteed. Not only is it not guaranteed, but you also have to pay a lot of money, and take a lot of tests. Even with all the stress, I can’t wait to get out of high school and into college.
-Arena, 18


Breathing Out
I begin to wonder if I will ever find peace. No matter how hard I try to avoid it, the problems keep coming to me. There are times when I just want to run away from everything and take a long drive on the open road. Get lost in some unknown mysterious town where I can enjoy the beautiful view. Education, family, and my significant other are bugging me. It’s not that I don’t want them there but breathing out is nice some times. To be honest, if there was any chance of a sweet escape where stress will not get to me, I’d take it.

This past month, the transition into college has really impacted me. I had to be more responsible and keep my own schedule on check. I had to do everything on my own since the professors do not give out worksheets and handouts. They expect us to print it ourselves and complete them. This brings in another stress because I don’t have a working printer. But now I do and I’m glad for that.

Another concern is my lower back. Walking around campus and exercising is my daily routine. Unfortunately, I pinched a nerve on my lower back and it has been irritating since then. I hate it so much because I can’t really move at night or sit in class. I either have to lie down or stand to suppress the tension.

Last but not least, I just lost my $85 textbook. OMG! I do not remember where I placed it but dang. I need it for one of my class. We have a quiz due tomorrow and midterms are a couple weeks away! Yikes, I need the book or else!
-Dasen, 18


Life Is Pricey
Senior year is here. It’s my last year of high school and it may be the worst and most stressful. High school has been extremely difficult due to the lingering economy and the inflating prices of necessities. It’s hard to be involved with school or outside activities because I don’t have any money to attend the activities.

It is especially hard for underage adolescents who want and need a job. Not everything is handed to us freely and when we have to compete in a field with peers our age and adults who are more experienced, we have a smaller chance of scoring that job. It’s also hard when most stores higher people who are at least 18 or older. There are 17 year olds who are even more reliable.

More places should rethink their policies because 17 year olds need jobs too. We all can’t rely on our parents for money. It’s really stressful when my senior year is going on and my family is living paycheck to paycheck. I think having a job that pays me a small amount of money can lift so much weight off my shoulders. My mom wouldn’t have to pay for my personal needs and I wouldn’t have to listen to her complain about the money I spend. Plus, having a job can help me learn ho to budget and value money.

It’s also really stressful when I want to pursue fashion, but I don’t have any support from my family. I cant really go into fashion because no one would want to help me because they all want me to be a nurse so I don’t have to worry about being in debt. But I’m going to be in debt no matter what, it’s college and it’s pricey. If I go to a college for nursing I really want to go to Carroll College or Holy Names University. But my mom doesn’t want me to go because it’s too expensive. But I love how both colleges are Catholic colleges. Senior year is so stressful.
-Gabby, 17


Staying Afloat
The things that have been stressing me out are my absences from my CNA Training Program for my future. Also, a job working the oven at a local restaurant, getting back into school, pursuing higher education, babysitting my “sister” baby and an old friend who passed about a month ago in a car accident. My financial and housing situation is rough. I know my “mom” doesn’t mind that I’m there. I contribute in any way possible. It’s just that I don’t want to be a burden to anyone. Also, just the turbulence that life brings. If it wasn’t difficult, it wouldn’t be life. As of now, I’m keeping my head above surface and trying not to struggle in water. Trying to stay afloat.
-Marcus, 19


Which One To Choose?
Being a procrastinator sucks! I’m really trying to stop procrastinating, but I get too easily distracted. Well procrastination is not helping out especially this being my senior year in high school. It’s like I’m so late on stuff. I want to go to college, either CSU Fresno or University of the Pacific. Well I don’t know if CSU Fresno will even look at my application because I registered for the ACT test so instead of October I’m testing in December. I really want to go to CSU Fresno, but I don’t know if I can.

I’m stuck though because I want to go to UOP too. UOP is expensive and far away from home, but it has what I want to go into, which is sports medicine. I want to stay near home, but what I want to do passionately is in Stockton at UOP. So I am stressing about college and applying and everything because I really want a better future for Mongsai and I and also to make my mom proud and take back her words of put down and doubt. I want to make my family proud by doing what I love.
-Angelina, 17


Without A Plan
Stress is a horrible thing to have on your shoulders. I always feel like I’m rushed and I’m running out of time, like next week, I’ll already be fifty and wondering what I’ve done with my life that was so special.

I feel like I have to plan out every moment of my life before I can do anything, wondering if what I’m doing is the right choice. I’m worried of where I’ll end up if I don’t make the right choice in my mind. I’m scared to leave. I don’t want to leave people or better yet, I’m letting one person hold me back, worrying that if I leave and come back, things won’t be the same.

I’m stressed that I don’t have a plan. I want to follow my dreams but wonder if happiness is what I want, or an innovative lifestyle where I change the world, help my family and repay my parents for raising me by being able to give them everything they need to support them so they don’t have to worry again. I want to be successful but I don’t know where to start. When do you know inside yourself that you’re getting where you need to be?

I’m not so worried about late applications, SATs, ACTs, tests, because I know I’ll do my best and study hard for them. But once I make it into college, I’m scared of being undeclared, not knowing what I’m going to major in. That’s my biggest worry, and what college I’m going to attend.
-Miguel, 17


On The Bright Side
Your brain is breaking! Your minds a blowing! Funny, you’re only stressed. Stress, that is such a bad thing to feel, the overwhelming world spinning around you to and from. I always feel that way.

The worst stress to feel is every single stress out there. I hate stressing about school. All that math homework that I don’t understand at school but when I get home, my mind’s blank. I hate reading those thick books that make no sense. Hate those notes too. Stress is around every corner of home. Family, arguments with girlfriend, rumors, friends, and well, like oh my “G”, it’s endless.

One of my worst stress-out times is going on right now, junior year in high school, but I know it’ll get worst. Anyhow, school is so stressful. I don’t understand Trig, it’s a whole new different language. I’m so tired of reading books but those books are so awesome. Juggling a little work, school, clubs, sports, and a girlfriend is hard.

But I always have to look at it this way; work is money, school is my future, clubs and sports are fun, my girlfriend is the world, and I got a family that will always love me. Stress is pain but when I endure all and look on the bright side, it’s life.

So trust me, you should be so happy. Just clear the clouds and look up into the endless black, night sky. An opportunity to feel better is up there. Close your eyes and smile. Clear your mind. Think of the good stuff and just smile.
-Yee Leng, 16

The kNOw Youth Media
The kNOw works to support and equip young people with the journalism and advocacy skills they need to tell their stories and the stories of their communities.

In 2006, over 25 youth began participating in weekly after-school writing workshops where they congregated in the hallway of a two-story building in West Fresno and learned the essentials of creating media and telling their stories. The group evolved over the next five years and is now proudly recognized as The kNOw Youth Media.

Through our program, we create opportunities for our youth participants, who in turn create long-term positive change in their communities. Our approach weaves youth development and youth media innovation to produce our biannual youth publication, multimedia projects, and community forums.

The kNOw began as a project of New America Media, which was the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. In 2018 The kNOw became a project of Youth Leadership Institute.

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