Adults have many opinions about teenagers, and for the most part they’re negative. Teenagers are unpredictable and mean, we say, or they’re lazy and entitled, or they’re self-involved1
, selfie-taking, Snapchat-addicted narcissists who don’t understand how easy they have it.
It’s easy to forget how challenging being a teenager can be, how the world seems ready to foist2
adult responsibilities onto you without offering any adult freedom in return. [...]
But in the affluent3
, high-achieving communities crowded around Silicon Valley, there is one aspect of teenagers’ lives that parents treat with the utmost seriousness: their child’s acceptance to an elite (preferably Ivy League) university.
When you’re a teenager in these environments, with a family full of brilliant minds who worked their way through Stanford or MIT or Harvard, the pressure to succeed can become a driving force and a source of anxiety. [...]
We often think of work — and workaholism — as a problem of the adult world, and yet young people in these situations are driven so hard to achieve that they often crack4