Most college kids are 18 or older. Then there’s the NUAMES kids. It seems like we’re always the exception, doesn’t it?

Some people seem to look down on us because we’re younger, but they should give us a little more credit.

Being a NUAMES kid, I spend the majority of my time with people older than me, whether that’s by two years or more.

It’s funny how much perspective changes when people find out you’re 16. People who used to ask you for help on assignments stop talking to you. People who used to listen to what you had to say suddenly feel they can dictate your actions and decisions. People who used to treat you as an equal no longer respect you.

It’s as though it has been engrained in everyone’s mind that the younger are stupid. I will admit that sometimes we can make silly decisions, but we should still be considered equal.

Since we qualify to be in the same college classes as you, technically, we are  intellectually equal. Being younger, we may have been through less life experiences, but that shouldn’t make our thoughts or opinions less credible than anyone else’s.

On the note of being less experienced, we are just as caught up in some things as you college kids are. A good example would be swearing.

Autumn Mariano/The Signpost
Autumn Mariano/The Signpost

After people accidentally let a swear word or two slip out during class, they immediately turn around and apologize to me for their language, which is fine. In fact, it’s great to consider the feelings of those around you.

The problem here is when I notice they only apologize to the early college kids, not the older people in the room. I thank these people for being considerate, but really, there’s no need to try to protect us from things like cuss words.

People shouldn’t feel like we’ve never heard foul language just because we’re a little bit younger. In fact, we still spend time in high school classes, so we probably hear a lot worse on a day-to-day basis.

My microbiology professor likes to joke that all we NUAMES kids ever do is play video games. Granted, a large portion of our population is extremely fascinated by anime and video games, but that doesn’t mean every single student falls in that category.

The odd joke about the obsession with gaming can be funny, but after so many repeats, it becomes one of those things that really hits the nerves.

An interesting piece of information all over the news and social media feeds is Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan, who is the youngest person to receive a Nobel Prize.

I strongly support Yousafzai’s cause in taking a stand for girls’ education. I respect her accomplishments. Furthermore, I respect the fact that she will receive a Nobel Prize at the sweet age of 17. She is just one of many cases that show how the young play an essential part in society.

To sum it up, we are high school students taking college classes. Let that speak for our ambition — do you really think every single one of us uses every single minute of every single day to play video games? Highly unlikely. Aside from the killer homework loads we receive, lots of us are involved in multiple clubs and activities.

I’ve been working to treat people of all ages equally ever since I realized that so much of the NUAMES population was being discriminated against. Often it is a subconscious reaction to feel superior to younger students, but I think we should all put forth the effort to get to know others, rather than judging them based off of a number.

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1 Comment

  1. I think using the word “discrimination” to describe your situation is too strong. You have less life experience therefore you know less. We do not view you as an equal peer because you aren’t. It’s that simple. Discrimination should be used in regards to sex, race, disability, etc. It can be used in the terms of age..but not for this situation. This isn’t a job where you are being fired for being too old. These are classes where students are viewing you as less experienced..because you are.

    You may be taking college level courses but you are most likely living at home, receiving financial support, etc. Just because you’re taking the same academic classes doesn’t mean that you are ‘intellectually equal.’ Your brain is still less developed.

    There is a a lot of maturity and life experience that happens between the age of 16 and 18. At 16 you are still a child. And, the average college student (and professor) isn’t spending time thinking about your age or what you do in your free time. We don’t care what you are doing. We don’t care if you watch anime or spend all afternoon reading. Our lives are not revolving around you. The swearing response could be because you seem religious. It might not even be related to age.

    I graduated early from high school. I moved across the country and financially supported myself at a time when my peers were still going to prom. And, I was not as mature as my classmates. I was not in the same stage of life as them. I understand what it’s like to be the youngest person in a room. I now understand the maturity level that comes with those extra two years.

    You aren’t being “discriminated” against. I don’t care what intellectual level you are on. You are still a child; therefore,I am going to treat you like one.

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