Yes, ageism is a serious thing. And discriminating against young people happens just as often as discrimination against old people. The youth is the future and if people stopped underestimating our abilities and opinions, each and every one of us could have the full potential to be great and change that future for the better.

Whenever I tell anyone that I'm 18 and in college, they just tell me, "Enjoy your life while you're young." And I just laugh it off but in my head, I'm freaking out about the 10 finals I have to study for, that assignment that's due in two hours, and all those club meetings I have to go to next week. All those older people claim they want us to live our best life, but we all know that it is simply not possible.

Being young isn't that great. Especially when most people don't take you seriously enough even though you work just as hard as them. It is very important for those who are older that have more "wisdom and experience" and whatnot, to let the youth speak. It is as simple as that. It is such a grave mistake to laugh at the 15-year-old's opinion or bash the 19-year-old who was just speaking their mind.

Just because "they don't even know what life is" or "they're just young and confused" does not give anyone the right to destroy a young person's creativity and thought process. Confidence is something that has to be built from a young age. If those who are older keep thinking that those younger are just dumb and inexperienced and keep shutting down their opinions, it can really hurt their self-esteem. And a low self-esteem will keep the young person from being able to reach the level of greatness they were meant for.

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And another point is respect. I know so many older people who expect those younger than them to immediately respect them the second they meet. And that is so wrong. Respect is something that should be mutual. If those who are older do not have the capacity to respect those that are younger than them, the young should not feel obligated to respect the older person. I'm not saying to curse out the next older person you see, but you don't have to suck up to them so much if they clearly don't care about you or your opinion.

Respect also goes hand in hand with respecting opinions. This connects with what I said earlier about letting the youth speak their minds. Just because those who are younger than you has a more naive opinion than you, that doesn't mean they are completely wrong and that you should bash them. Try to remember that you were at their age at one point as well. They are simply speaking from their perspective and age and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

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I also heard that some bosses don't wanna hire younger people because of their "inexperience" and inability to complete certain tasks (which they just assume because of the age factor). They strip away the young person's chance to gain new experience and learn new things based on bias and assumptions that they are not good enough. We need to do better for our youth. We need to give them the ability to voice their opinions without the fear of being mocked. We need to be able to take them seriously from now because as I said, they are our future and if we don't start giving more value to our young, our future is at stake.