Recently a friend and I were talking about the frustration of being an adult and being happy to address and sort out our own problems and yet often (although not always) we are faced with the issue that a company or person will not take our problem seriously until we hang up the phone/stop emailing and let a parent handle the business. It frustrates me entirely.
Society tells us all sorts- one thing being that young people should stand on their own two feet. I definitely think context is the important thing with sweeping statements like this but I know my own personal situation and I'm quite happy to do just that. Because I want to. I'm quite happy to sort out any issues, for example, with student accommodation or disputes in a shop or something similar and I definitely feel capable of doing so. And yet when it comes down to it, my age stops me from being taken seriously. I assume in about five years or so - maybe even more! - my age will allow me to progress with my issues in a much better fashion, but my goodness, I'm not waiting five years to be considered to have a voice.
I found this even more when I was not an "official adult." Everyone, as soon as opinions are formed have voices (I expect you'll find that even before that they do too!) and everyone has their own knowledge about what they are capable of. When I was about fourteen I was called into the school office and I was told I was in a lot of trouble because they believed (but in their words, "knew") I had done something illegal when it came to the computers. I knew I hadn't. I tried hard to explain that I definitely didn't and although I didn't quite understand why it did seem so, I could explain all I knew - stuff that did prove I didn't do what I was being accused of - I told them exactly how it was and I remember so vividly the teacher looking down at me, incredibly patronisingly;
"We know you did this. We know you're lying."
Guess what? As soon as my mother phoned up who reiterated what I said and who had a better understanding of the issue that made them believe I had done something wrong and they listened. They understood. They resolved it. And all I got from this man was a really uncomfortable, insincere, "sorry." How terribly lame is that?
My friend was telling me about how she had an issue with her radiator in her student halls last year; she phoned them up, stating her issue and they said they would sort it out. When they didn't in the time they said they would, she phoned again and they gave a terrible excuse and said they would sort it out "as soon as possible." As a student paying for heating she wasn't receiving, this was entirely unacceptable. Can you guess the ending? As soon as her father phoned up, alas, everything was sorted. It makes me want to scream "ASDFGHJKL" constantly.
It's even more frustrating because I know when it comes to issues like this my friend and I would approach it very similarly. We would be reasonable, efficient and knowledgeable. When - as it can happen - the person down the phone can take the mick, quite frankly, I'd make my unhappiness very clear (and I don't think I'm an argumentative person). However what about the young people who want to sort out their problems by themselves and maybe lack confidence in this area or something similar? The whole accepted system of people my age not being "capable" of sorting a problem is utterly ridiculous. It could also diminish someone's confidence.
Once I was appalled by the words a customer assistant used when talking to me and when I made that clear I was basically patronised out of the shop. The thing is, after telling my mum (because I was frustrated) she phoned up and got a full apology. Funny that!
Now it's not like when I was younger or now I'm in capable of accepting I'm wrong. I'm very open to being wrong. Many of the inquiries like this I make are because maybe I'm missing something. I approach everything completely with an open mind until I am not taken as seriously as I deserve to be. And treating young people like this is such a dangerous way for a society to be.
Age should never determine whether a voice counts or not. It's time to change this.
Young & Capable,
The Girl in the Moonlight.
P.S. This March I am posting twice a day- you can read my last post HERE!