Micayla Simmons is a high school senior from Ohio who is also a full-time post secondary student at Mount Vernon Nazarene University (MVNU). Check out her perspective on life and issues facing students.
Friends and free time:
We hang out with each other at someone's house and watch movies or play games on the Wii. We also drive to the city and go shopping or go out to eat. Since our free time is so scarce, we mostly just spend it relaxing and enjoying each other's company.
Attending MVNU has been a great way to maintain my faith. It allows me to surround myself with people who have the same values and beliefs that I have. I attend New Life Church of the Nazarene, which is filled with excellent people. For me, the best way for me to maintain my faith is to be around those people who are supporting me and loving me. Having encouragement in my life helps me be more confident in who I am and in my faith.
Church youth group:
I regularly attend youth group and have made awesome friends. My youth leaders are very down to earth. I feel comfortable talking to them about anything. They have been open with us in sharing their struggles, which makes it easier for us to talk with them and relate to them.
Being a girl, an obvious issue is body image. It is difficult to see images of girls who are thin and seem to be "perfect." It is hard not to compare myself to them and wish I could be like that. Many other girls struggle with that same issue. I struggled for several years with anorexia. My parents were able to recognize my problem and took me to see a Christian counselor who helped me work through my sickness.
Another issue is the pressure to drink and do drugs. Since this is a small town and there is very little to do, many of the teens spend their time throwing parties. I doubt that a day goes by that people do not throw a party, even during the week. Teens use substances to alter themselves mentally and physically, with complete disregard for consequences. It is causing death and injury to many young people.
I am very involved in my school-student council, student government, the business editor of the yearbook, an anchor on the daily announcements, a tutor for younger students, a member of the gymnastics team and the basketball team, and a member of the student advisory board. My favorite activity is being the reigning Knox County Junior Miss, a role I have filled since winning a pageant last November. I also coach a traveling softball team and enjoy spending time with my family.
Unique music. I have friends who are aspiring musicians, and they send me a lot of their songs. I tend to put their music on my iPod because I think that it's cool to listen to people that I know. I have had the song "Ocean Breeze," written by my friend Johnathan Nichols from Trevecca Nazarene University, on repeat for about two weeks! I also really like Relient K, Hawk Nelson, Flyleaf, and Mayday Parade.
Message to peers:
The most important thing is to be yourself. I spent so much time trying to be the popular girl that everyone likes. In that time, I lost track of who I really was. It has taken a long time for me to figure out myself and I like my real self better than the girl who was trying to please everyone.
Also, don't look back on times you failed-they are in the past. Don't look back on everything you didn't get. Focus on what you have and how blessed you are. Each difficult situation makes you stronger and makes your light shine brighter. Your life has a purpose, and even though it can be a bumpy ride, it is your responsibility to make sure that your light is shining for everyone to see. Shine on!
I hate to admit it, but I really do not read that often. My favorite book, though, would have to be My Sister's Keeper. This book inspired me to want to become a pediatric oncologist. It is an excellent book-far better than the movie version! I also like Nineteen Minutes by Nicholas Sparks.
I am very involved in my school-student council, student government, the business editor of the yearbook, an anchor on the daily announcements, a tutor for the underclassman, a D.A.R.E.* role model, a member of the gymnastics team and the basketball team, and a member of the student advisory board. I am also in 4-H** and the president of our group (but I do things like scrapbooking and interior decorating, not caring for animals!). My favorite activity is being the reigning Knox County Junior Miss, a role I have filled since winning a pageant last November.
After high school:
I will be attending college (although the school has not yet been totally decided) majoring in biochemistry (pre-med). From there, I plan on going to medical school and hopefully becoming a pediatric oncologist, a doctor specializing in treatment of children who have cancer.
*D.A.R.E. = Drug Abuse Resistance Education
**4-H is a community of more than 6.5 million young people in the U.S., learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills through four clubs: Head, Heart, Hands, and Health.
Holiness Today, May/June 2010