Teens speak out on economic downturn


“I had to quit the team.”
“We moved from a house with six bedrooms, three bathrooms, a big kitchen, a nice large living room, and a great front, back and side yard to a two-room, one-bathroom apartment with a garage.”
“But at the back of my mind, the thought of my future keeps prodding my brain as an overwhelming feeling of dread begins to consume me.”

There were so many compelling examples of how teens are being affected during this economic downturn that we wanted to create a list of excerpts from their essays to share with you.

Since we live in the country, my parents don’t want to drive me in to hang with my friends a lot. It made me mad at first, but I’m starting to realize that my parents work hard, and they want to save money since they’re struggling a little. It affects me the most in the role of working. Not a lot of people go out to anymore so my babysitting jobs are decreasing. – Amanda Peters, 15, Faribault Senior High

At my job I have noticed that the auto repair business is slow. I worry a little that my hours, if business got slow again, would be cut back like it was for about 5 months last year into this year. But I think that if I had the chance to give up my job for someone who needs a job to support their family, I would gladly do so. – Christen Hildebrandt, 18, Faribault Senior High

When gas started dropping me and my friends would scream and high five each other when we drove past a gas station and saw that gas was down to $2.75. – Heather Thomas, 17, Faribault Senior High

We recently foreclosed on our house, which we have lived in for 10 years. We moved from a house with six bedrooms, three bathrooms, a big kitchen, a nice large living room, and a great front, back and side yard to a two-room, one-bathroom apartment with a garage. – Tyler Michael Bassett, 17, Faribault Senior High

My parents are also forcing me to find a job somewhere in town so I can help pay for some stuff. It doesn’t really bother me though because I know that I have to get a job eventually. – Emily Mueller, 16, Faribault Senior High

I previously participated in Policy Debate, but the activity is $150 plus we would have to pay for travel expenses, like gas. I had to quit the team. I also am currently working two jobs. One of them is a janitorial position at Lifetime Fitness. The economy is hitting there too. Since I have started working, many people have come in having to cancel their memberships because it is a luxury they cannot afford. My hours were cut down to only six a week because even a large corporation like Lifetime cannot afford to pay employees like they previously would. – Jo Megas, Highland Park Senior High

My grandmother is sick and she is getting worse every year … Also, her husband has Alzheimer’s so she spends most of her time taking care of him and is under a lot of stress. He will need more help as time passes, and my grandmother cannot do the job all by herself. So, just at the time when she needs more money, she is facing a 30-35 percent reduced pension. It will be a big challenge for her to change her spending habits and even without changing she faces new expenses.

We have not told my grandmother about the potential loss in income yet, because she will be very anxious when she finds out, and there is a chance the economy will improve so that her pension won’t be so badly affected. – Anonymous

I still feel the same. I still wake up every morning. I still go to school. I still eat lunch, hangout with my friends, do my homework, and everything else I would otherwise do in my everyday life. But at the back of my mind, the thought of my future keeps prodding my brain as an overwhelming feeling of dread begins to consume me. – Ian Hamerlinck, 15, Southwest High School

Earlier this year my parents had planned a big trip to India to visit my family and go for my uncle’s wedding. They had planned to go with my grandparents and cousins, and we were all looking forward to the wedding. However, after a few months my parents realized that because of the economic recession they would not be able to afford such a big trip. We didn’t want to stop the rest of our family from going to the wedding in December so I pretended like I couldn’t miss any school. I told my parents I was okay with missing the wedding and that I was not disappointed, but the truth is that I was really upset about missing out on an opportunity like that. – Avi Gori, 14, Southwest High School

With every point drop in the stock market, my father lets out another groan. This has been an issue at our house, which my parents mainly discuss when my sisters and I are out of earshot or they think that we are sleeping. My father pulled his retirement funds out of the market a couple of weeks ago, but my mother’s retirement fund is still on the economic roller coaster, and we have no idea if we are pulling into the station or if we are at the top of the drop. – Will Plunkett, 14, Southwest High School

A couple of weeks ago I decided I wanted a (Play Station 3). I was really trying hard to get my parents to let me get it and I almost got them to let me buy it. Then I started thinking about and I realized that $400 is a lot of money. I realized that maybe I should keep that money for a later day when I actually need it. College is where and when I will need that money. – Matteo Alampi, 15, Southwest High School

It’s all Bush’s fault. He sucks. The End. GO OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!! – Dan Champion, 14, Southwest High School

A good friend of mine has been playing volleyball for years. She usually plays club volleyball and gets way better than the rest of us. She is a great athlete with potential to do some amazing things on the court. This year when I texted her to see what team she made, she answered that she didn’t try out. I was so confused that I personally called her and asked if she had misspelled something. The star of our team last year was not playing volleyball so that her family could save money. – Siri Keller, 15, Southwest High School

Even though my family is doing fine, we still try to save money: only 15 minute showers, lights are out after 9 p.m., and we shut off the TV when commercials are on. – Tenzin Lhanze, 17, Southwest High School