What Makes You Cool?

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What makes an ordinary Chicago teen “cool”? The term “cool” comes up a lot because teenagers want to fit in. Nobody wants to be considered an outsider. The need of acceptance is extremely prevalent. Everybody wants to be in a gang. Once a month lines at stores like Footlocker are around the corner just so everyone can get those new Jordans. If you’re not wearing clothes like True Religion, Robin Jeans, Love Pink, Polo, or Nike, you’re considered “broke”. No one gets on Facebook anymore. It’s all about how many Twitter and Instagram followers you have. For some odd reason, light-skinned girls are considered prettier than dark-skinned girls. Everyone is in cliques but no one is really looking for real friends. Many teenagers don’t look for relationships but rather someone to have sex with. So, what is the definition of cool?

Joelle Ataessien, a student at Whitney Young High School, says, “There are two ways to define cool. One way is from a societal point of view where your popularity and value are measured by the number of favorites you get on a photo, likes you get on Instagram and how many heart eyes you receive under a photo. But the second way comes from a discovery of one’s self. Being cool means accepting yourself and what others deem as ‘flaws,’ and instead of hiding these aspects you use them to define who you are.”

It’s easy to notice that nowadays teenagers have a very hard time being themselves. In order to find true happiness within oneself, a person must learn how to accept who they are and love it. Aspiring to be someone else or something you’re not doesn’t make anyone cool. Hopping from relationship to relationship doesn’t make you cool.

Embracing every part of your body and mind is what makes you cool. Wearing clothes that help you express who you are, name brand or not, makes a person cool. Having fun and enjoying the freedom of being a kid is cool.

Tia Smith, Kenwood Academy student, says, “Being cool is when you don’t need to have a clique to have fun. Being cool is when you’re cool with not belonging to a clique. Being cool is living your life to the fullest without dealing with drama. Being cool is being happy. Being happy is cool.” True happiness is the key.

By: Jocelyn Cain, Junior, Kenwood Academy

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