Essentials for the next generation — Teens share what they can’t live without

It seems like every day we discover a new technology or gizmo we just can’t live without.
It’s not a new phenomenon.
Throughout history, the advent of the automobile, the washing machine or the television made people wonder how they ever got along without such luxuries/necessities. These days, depending on who you talk to, the list of essentials might include anything from an MP3 player or GPS navigation system to the Internet and text messaging.
We asked members of the York Daily Record/Sunday News’ Teen Takeover staff to tell us what they felt they couldn’t live without and why. We thought it might offer some insight into essentials for a new generation.
The results were a bit surprising.
While the responses do include a laptop and a fancy coffee drink, many more of the answers are decidedly low-tech: a journal, music, chewing gum.
Who knows? Maybe it means that the more high-tech our society becomes, the more we long for simple pleasures.


I could never live without my journal. It is a release for all sorts of emotions. It is rarely ever filled with “today, I did” phrases; rather, it is filled with quotes of the wise from (Ralph Waldo) Emerson and (Henry David) Thoreau and passages from favorite authors.
It is my tribute to those who use words in the way I aspire to, rewriting excerpts from favorite novels or Newsweek “My Turn” essays or Sen. (Barack) Obama’s wonderfully constructedspeeches.
It is a reflection on the past, a testimony to my hardest times. It is the raw version of myself, void of pleasantries or cover-ups. I could not live without my journal because it simply is me.
— By ABIGAIL STOLLAR, Spring Grove Area Senior High School
I could not live without literacy. Simply put, I am a book nerd of the truest sort.
My dependence upon reading began while I was in kindergarten. Unable to actually read at that point, I would get my kicks out of looking through my mother’s books to find the “the’s,” “a’s,”and “and’s” (the only words I could recognize).
Since then, my sense of wonder for written thoughts has not diminished. From historical fiction to articles in National Geographic, ideas that I have developed from reading are embedded in my gray matter.
It is difficult for me to imagine how different my understanding of the world would be without my literacy. Thus, to the end of my days, I will require food, water, shelter and books.
—By LEXIE GROVE, West York Area High School
Just admit it. Teenagers are full of themselves.
I am not saying this is a bad thing. In fact, being concerned with one’s self goes back to the survival-of-the-fittest theory. Those who looked out for No. 1 lived on.
Now, although not surrounded by hungry tigers, adolescents continue to practice these ideals; self image being a top priority. This is why a mirror is something I could not live without.
If I walk into school puffy-faced and hair all akimbo, I will not have as much confidence. The mirror helps me build self-esteem when I put on mascara, fix my hair and scrub my face. Even guys care about their appearance, although some would like to deny it.
Who doesn’t catch a glimpse of themselves while walking past a school’s shadow box? In reflection, mirrors keep our image in shape, and even keep embarrassing food out of our teeth.
—By LILY KOTANSKY, Susquehannock High School
I could not live without music. Being an only child, I spend a lot of time by myself when I’m not with friends or family. During those times, music keeps me company and inspires creative thinking. I find that there is music for every mood. When I’m completing homework, writing, drawing or even just relaxing, music keeps me focused, carefree and motivated.
—By ERIN HOLBERG, York Catholic High School
I can’t live without chewing gum. Honestly, it does not matter what brand. Extra, Orbit, Eclipse — it’s all satisfying. Sure, there are certain favorites, but in the end, gum is gum.
It is very rare that you’ll see me without gum. Though it’s a habit, the packets of gum I go through in a week could probably classify me as an addict.
I use it after a meal to freshen my breath. I use it to relieve stress by chewing on something. I’m always chewing gum, unless it’s not allowed (like at my school and work).
If you find gum underneath your shoe, it’s a safe assumption I am the cause of it.
—By ALEX BISHOP, York Catholic High School
One thing I could not live without is Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. I am thankful to it for helping me achieve a blemish-free face. Along with the Clinique Clarifying Lotion, the products make my face feel smoother than a baby’s bottom. By using it twice a day, my face feels fresh and renewed.
—By ANNIE SWADE, Susquehannock High School
Everyone thinks of a certain pacifier when they need soothing. When the going gets tough, my
mind turns to mocha frappuccinos.
Have a bad day? Mocha frappuccino. Four-hour rehearsal that leaves me black and blue? Mocha frappuccino. Splitting headache? Try a mocha frappuccino.
These frozen concoctions add a sweet depth to my life when I’m frazzled and actually calm me down, despite the caffeine. Not to mention they lead me to new coffee shops — my favorite hangouts — and give me a chance to inter´act with friends.
Cup of heavenly bliss?
One mocha frappuccino coming up.
— By LAURA DZWONCZYK, Susquehannock High School
To live, to breathe, I need my pencil and paper. Sometimes a pen works, too.
OK, so I don’t really need to be able to write to exist. But it’s helpful. It makes me feel good, you know?
You know the feeling you get when you have an awesome idea but aren’t able to write it down because you can’t even find a napkin? Then you remember it later, when you have paper and
pencil — but it’s too late. That’s one of the worst feelings ever. It’s worse for me than losing my ever-so elusive muse.
I keep a journal with me all the time so I can avoid that icky feeling.
If writing were taken away from me, I would be able to survive, but I wouldn’t make pleasant company. Writing is something I need to stay lively, if not alive.
— By LAUREN AMOROS, West York Area High School 
I could not live without my laptop computer because I use it to do a lot of things — instant message my friends, check e-mail, manage my My´Space and Facebook (pages), meet new people and keep in contact with faraway friends.
I also use the (Microsoft) Word program to keep a journal and store my writing because sometimes typing instead of writing helps me more.
I have taken it to California with me and it will be handy when I do other traveling.
—By AMANDA KNUDSON, Red Lion Area Senior High School 
I could not live without my voice. Communication is very important to me. I’m incredibly talkative
and become depressed when I cannot verbally express myself. The world would not go on if I
couldn’t talk. With no voice box, I would certainly wither away.
— By RACHEL BRAGG, Dallastown Area Middle School 
The thing I can’t live without is music. Music is the key to my success in school because there
are many songs that inspire me to challenge myself.
One of them is “Victory,” by Yolanda Adams. It talks about how God helps her when she cannot do things on her own.
Soulful music gets me focused on my work because I can relate to the many things the musicians talk about. Their struggles give me the reason why I am the person who I am today.
— By SHANTIA GARRETT, West York Area High School

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