The Party Starts at 10

February 7, 2020

Year 10s are a bunch of vodka-drinking, bathroom-vaping, marijuana-smoking party addicts. That’s what you think of us. We’ve heard it all. But the actual truth remains a deep secret hidden by all of us. Well, it was a secret. We’re here to spill all that piping hot tea you’ve been waiting for. We’re here to tell you what really goes on behind the cruel scenery of assumptions. Are we really all druggies?

People think the year 10s have started a new trend. One where the amount of people drinking has suddenly doubled and drug use is at an all-time high. Rumors are floating around that this year’s year 10s are some of the worst ISL has had so far. “People were caught vaping in school.  There was a huge party over the weekend. They had vodka.” Yeah, the previous years did this too, but this year is “topping it off”. Everyone’s heard the stories. But how accurate are rumors? 


We’ve all heard a rumor that had at least three different twisted versions of it, each one worse than the previous. There’s a reason for that: they’re rumors and not facts. Someone hears (or mishears) a story, and as word travels it becomes more and more dramatic, and a story about someone smoking turns into a full-blown party with marijuana and six bottles of vodka. “Nobody says there’s a group of year 10 students who all went to each others’ house last weekend, watched a video and went to bed early. [People] talk about the fact that students are doing things like drinking alcohol in a park” said Mr. Foley. Are the current year 10s really bad, or are they all rumors?


Year 10 students do not go partying and end up in trouble as often as everyone thinks. This year’s group may seem to be caught up in party culture, but serious incidents aren’t a regular occurrence. It is just that the ones that surface are blown up as the topic of gossip.


Have you heard how year 10s are getting themselves into drugs, alcohol and partying at such an early age? What about year 11, year 12, year 13? There is a focus on year 10s, likely because we are so young. As people get older, they become more aware of what they can and can’t do. Year 10 is the first year of High School, so fingers automatically point towards us. It is natural for people to criticize the new generation, calling them spoiled, naive, or young. According to an older student, “This year’s year 10s are the worst ISL has ever had.” However, according to Mr. Spinks, who has been at ISL for 12 years, “year 10 is the age where some students will start experimenting with alcohol and cannabis… it has always been [like] this.”


Year 10s are not 10-year-olds with juuls – most of these fourteen and fifteen-year-olds are responsible enough to make their own choices. People always look to our age group and criticize us because it’s an age of experimentation. Most who experiment with substances will turn away later on and few will become addicted. We have researched, found evidence, we interviewed teachers and even looked through the FCD surveys, but still, we could not find anything extraordinary. It is important to know that there are problems in every year group in a high school – not just ours. 


In the past few years, teenagers have been more exposed to e-cigarettes and vaping devices than previous cohorts. Juuling is specifically marketed at a younger audience. A Juul looks sophisticated and modern and small enough to tuck into the back pocket of your jeans, and the flavors do sound inviting. But this isn’t an excuse to sprint off to the bathrooms for a mango vaping session. There have been plenty of homeroom discussions warning us about the risks, and by now, it’s common knowledge. 


Peer pressure has played a major role in the so-called “behaviors” of the current Year 10s as individuals in the year group have been pressured by their peers to start smoking or taking drugs. People call it the cool fashion as smoking or juuling makes one seem cool. What is considered a social norm pushes students in this direction. People do drugs or smoke, as they want to belong to the so-called “cool” social circle. Nobody wants to be the boring one or an outsider! It’s this coolness that has affected our year. We make mistakes but we do learn from them.


As Mr. Spinks said, “Don’t believe the hype!” The idea that it is cool to Juul. The idea that it is cool to be blackout drunk. The idea that missing class makes you popular. In the end, none of the hypes are cool or make you any better. People would much rather be friends with a truly authentic person than with one wearing a mask. 


What today’s society has become is a disappointment. The expectation of everyone having to be perfect 24/7 is wired into our brains. These expectations are unrealistic. Every high school student should be allowed to make mistakes. Some are more severe than others, but they will always happen. Year 10 is no different. At the end of the day, we are a group of curious teenagers who have their entire lives ahead of them to explore. On our journey, we will make mistakes. All we ask for is your understanding and that you stop making assumptions based on our mistakes. 


As disappointing as it might be for some of you, year 10 is not “the bad year”. We are nothing special. In fact, we are “normal“ just like all of you. Now, we are very sorry to anyone who thought they were going to get some dirt on our year group but the truth is quite harmless – it’s only influenced by assumptions.


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