Tiara, age 16, says that being a teenager in South Bend, Indiana is a “struggle between trying to work hard for her good grades and having a job which allows her to provide a way to have the things she wants and to help her mother.” Tiara works at Little Ceaser’s Pizza where she enjoys the fast pace and busyness. Tiara’s family consists of her mother, 2 brothers, a sister, and herself. She described that she “loves her home life” and that she “wouldn’t have it and cannot imagine life any other way.” Tiara said that at home, her main responsibility is to “concentrate on school and her grades” but that she also has weekly chores including “washing dishes, cleaning her room, and vacuuming.”
Tiara’s biggest challenge, which sometimes causes stress for her, is “getting good grades.” This is a challenge for her and is important to her because she said she “needs excellent grades for her future plans.” Tiara works hard to get above average grades and dreams of getting into a prestigious medical college and becoming a doctor. She believes that attending college will be a great way to get her out into the “real world.”
Tiara has big dreams and is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve her goals and to make her future.
Tiara stated that her strengths are her determination to achieve her idea of success. Along with determination comes her passion for pursuing her education, reaching her goals, and her desire to keep to herself, which she believes helps her to avoid peer pressure and stay out of trouble. Her biggest weakness is that she becomes side tracked easily and that her mind often wanders off task. To improve in this area, she believes she needs to develop better time management skills. Values that Tiara holds include being honest, having a strong sense of respect, having love for others, and having a sense of positivity. Tiara believes that if she “thinks positive, positive things will happen in her life.” She feels good about herself and her talents because she knows she has the ability to shape her future. Tiara said “knowing that I can go to school every day and work my hardest to achieve good grades makes me proud.”
Tiara has one main role model in her life, and this special person is her mother. She described that her mother is her role model because she “empowers her by giving her good advice and by modeling the importance of education and goal achievement. Tiara looks up to her mother and values the relationship that she has with her. She also feels that she is “lucky to have a mother like she has.” Tiara feels that “having this relationship and bond with her mother makes her want to do her best and make her mother proud.” Lastly, she looks up to her mother because of her drive to do better
in the future.
Tiara is concerned for her community and feels that violence occurs more than it should. She would like to see “more activities offered in her community” for teens and “believes that if teens are kept busy, they will stay out of trouble.” For Tiara, when she encounters negative peer pressure, like drug use or participating in activities she know are wrong, she simply walks away. She would like to see more teenage girls walk away from negatives too.
This story originally appeared in Facing the Future Through the Voices of Teenage Girls, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by Ivy Tech Community College and the Office of Mayor Pete Buttigieg in South Bend, Indiana.