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Teen Trend Report

Teen Survey Results and Student Writing Contest Submissions:  2,600+ teen and college student visitors, 215+ survey responders, and 85+ essay submissions from teenagers sharing school memories.

School Daze - Writing Contest Results

School Memories

Fears build about being the new kid, the bullied kid, the left out kid or just about new classes and new workloads after summer freedom. Other kids bored from lazy summer days get excited about the routines and new school adventures that await them in the upcoming year.

Background on the Writing Contest:

Stage of Life asked thousands of high school and college students across the world to share a story about a school memory.

We encouraged students to submit a story about a school memory - being the new kid, a great school achievement, a special (or not so special) teacher, something joyful or something embarrassing.

Teen Trend Report Overview:
  • Teen Trend Report about Teenagers and School MemoriesVISITS:  Over 2,600 teens and college students visited the writing contest during the month's writing prompt (August 2014) from across the US (all 50 states) and dozens of international countries.

  • TEENS and SURVEY DATA:  215+ students between junior high school and college fully completed the national survey about how teens feel about their school memories.
  • ESSAY THEMES:  Out of all of the topics discussed, several major themes were collectively revealed by teens and their stories about school. 
  • Writing contest for high school students

    85+ teen bloggers submitted a qualifying essay to the writing prompt that asked, "Share a school memory." 
  • ESSAY WINNER:  Place winners, along with Runners Up and finalists were selected. 

PART I Statistics about Teenagers and their School Memories

Before submitting their writing contest essay, teens were asked to complete a survey containing some questions about how they feel about school.  Here are the teen statistics from the survey from the students who fully completed the poll...
  • 86% of teens say they "enjoy" school.  This percentage increases to 89% for females.
  • High School: Teens say they have their best memories from school in high school (45%) versus those that rank Middle School/Junior (33%) or Elementary School (22%).  Girls also answered that they have a much better experience in Middle School/Junior than boys.
  • 85% of students say they have mostly "good" teachers.
  • 83% of teenagers say that their best school memories revolve around "Friends" - the #1 ranked category. "Lunch" and "Recess" ranked the lowest.
  • 57.5% of teenagers say that their worst school memories revolve around "Specific Teachers" - the #1 ranked worst memory category.
  • 74% of teenagers say that they are typically excited to return to school at the end of summer each year.
  • What class taught you the most? Answers to this open ended question can be found in Stage of Life's full Teen Statistics report.  You can download the statistics report below (click on the PDF document).
Statistics about Teens and School MemoriesTo read the full survey results, click the PDF icon to view or save the free download.

SOURCE:  All statistics above were collected by as part of its monthly teen trend reports containing statistics and writing contest prompt responses from teens on real world issues.


After taking the survey, students submitted their writing contest essays to  From the qualifying teen essay submissions, several themes emerged:

Teenagers and School MemoriesThemes and Trends from the School Memory Essays:
  • First Day Fears: Ah, the first day of school: new notebooks, new desks, and, sometimes, new hallways. These teens admitted to being scared of the changes that came with starting a new grade or school, but once they settled in, they found that change was (usually) for the better.
  • Fun Times With Friends: Many stories this month retold favorite moments with best friends: inside jokes, awkward class moments, or that special day these teens met their best friend. Friends helped these teens through tough class assignments—and through harder, emotional struggles.
  • Inspiring Teachers: Nothing can affect a school experience like a teacher—good or bad. Thankfully, most teens praised their teachers, who inspired them to follow their talents and dreams. However, some teens were stuck with disrespectful or rude teachers who left a bad taste for education in their mouths.
  • Awesome After School Activities: These teens loved training and competing with their teammates—also some of their closest friends. They fondly recalled team trips to championship meets, and the shenanigans they pulled after hours in hotel rooms. Social aspect aside, these teens saw their confidence soar when they played a sport; as one teen put it, “Sometimes it sucks, but I love it.”

PART III:  Read the Teen Stories about School

Teen BloggersImmediately below, you'll find links to the winning essay, our runners-up, semi-finalists, and all qualifying essays from college students and teenagers about their school memory.

Please take a few moments to read an essay or two, especially our winner, runners-up, and finalists.

If you have the time, make a comment on the essays you enjoyed the most.  We know the student writers will love hearing your positive input (they'll get an email notifying them if you comment on their writing contest entry).

Writing contest winnerWriting Contest Winner & Finalists

First Place:
School Daze: Nora by KT (She misses her old friend) student essay writers2nd Place (Tie): 
School Daze: Leaving My Mark with Gogurt by rsoonavala (This teen didn’t mean to leave a mark in the cafeteria)
School Daze: Pigs and Vegetarians by stv.chung1 (This teen learned about Hinduism in bio class)

3rd Place:
School Daze: Jenny by neuroxytocin (No one can ever be perfect)
School Daze: Words that Changed My Life by Gingersnap (Her teacher gave her a touching compliment)

Writing Contest Runners UpRunners Up (in no particular order)

School Daze: Unfamiliar Faces by lisibadenhorst (After that day, she knew she could handle anything)

School Daze: Racing Raymond by nasathespaceship (She loved running around with her friend)

School Daze: A Valuable Lesson Learned from Mr. Chubs by katherine.k.chung (Her class didn’t win the coveted prize)

School Daze: A Lesson in Tennis (and Truth) by skoreangirl (She remembers a disastrous but fun English lesson)

School Daze: The day my life was changed forever by Fairybrielle (She remembers the day she knew she wanted to be a poet) writing contest submissions

Read teen essays from national writing contest

Read All Qualifying Teen & College Essays for the Writing Contest - "Describe a school memory..."

The essays below were all written by Stage of Life teen writers for this monthly student writing contest...

School Memories - Teen Essays

Essays about Dating

1.     School Daze: My most memorable school experience by MaquelaLaBlanc (She remembers getting asked out by her best friend)

2.     School Daze: My First Crush by merin (She remembers the first boy she ever liked)

3.     School Daze: Jenny by [email protected] (No one can ever be perfect)

4.     School Daze: The New Boy by AlliD (One of her old enemies revealed her crush to her crush)


Essays about Extracurricular Activities

1.     School Daze: Latino family by Jay_sa_lee (This teen loved competing with the dance troupe)

2.     School Daze: A Shot at Basketball by dkm (This teen remembers some unwarranted criticism)

3.     School Daze: The Short Sweet Rock Trip by DashingDelvarin (He remembers a fun class trip)

4.     School Daze: Softball Surprise by AlannaLeigh (She made the softball team, and didn’t even anticipate trying out)

5.     School Daze: The Band Geek Experience by northcarolinian (This teen’s confidence soared thanks to a chair test)

6.     School Daze: Tasting Phantom Success by Kofi Akosah (This teen’s school thought they won an important race)

7.     School Daze: Cheer at 2am by taylorjader (Her best memories are with her cheer team)

8.     School Daze: State Wrestling by Galliiggzz (This teen remembers the work outs and food that came with the state tournament)

9.     School Daze: State Championship by Kaimi21 (“Running sucks, and I love it”)

10.  School Daze: Basketball States by Kaulike (This teen broke a few rules to have some fun)

11.  School Daze: Baseball Trips by Daylen Calicden (Make great memories and look forward to things)

12.  School Daze: The best memories by Gabers22 (This teen loved playing a game called Maluaka)


Essays about Fear

1.     School Daze: Fresh Meat by cburris1997 (This teen remembers the first day of high school)

2.     School Daze: Trouble with the John by Sara77785 (She had trouble getting her teacher’s attention at an inopportune time)

3.     School Daze: Faking Sick and Grounded For Life by Aforgottenmemory (This teen used to fake sick to go home once a week)

4.     School Daze: The Terribly Mortifying Day in PE Swim Unit by emmakwillis (A perverted boy “accidentally” kicked her top)

5.     School Daze: Evil Runs Elementary by ashleydelgado (She was afraid of going to school)

6.     School Daze: How I Ruined My Life by LaughingJack4 (This teen performed a song at school)

7.     School Daze: Bullies and Bruises by ali_ccia (She fought back, and it changed everything)

8.     School Daze: The day I ran away by Peneku_ (She remembers running after her grandmother)

9.     School Daze: Unfamiliar Faces by lisibadenhorst (After that day, she knew she could handle anything)


Essays about Friends

1.     School Daze: Get By With a Little Help From My Friends by JustRikki (She made some great, loyal friends)

2.     School Daze: Racing Raymond by nasathespaceship (She loved running around with her friend)

3.     School Daze: A Silent Trip Back To Memory Lane by Jammy1999 (This teen was terrified of starting a new school in a new country)

4.     School Daze: May Fifth by LillianDupres (She remembers getting some bad news)

5.     School Daze: I Was Just Chewing It! by ayanna (This teen recalls an awkward classroom incident)

6.     School Daze: Classroom Snacks Go Everywhere by garland.sopapia (She just wanted to taste an odd treat)

7.     School Daze: Nora by KT (She misses her old friend)

8.     School Daze: Weston by bobbijo (This teen speaks about one of her closest friends)

9.     School Daze: The Best Memory by Samantha Frizzell (She remembers meeting one of her oldest friends)

10.  School Daze: Facebook Friend: Evan by aleisha_saan (This teen inadvertently ran into her favorite online friend)

11.  School Daze: The Sassy Four by taylorbrandi (She loved sitting with her three best friends during lunch period)

12.  School Daze: New and Newer by jkim17 (Being the new kid won’t be so hard this time around)


Essays about Social Situations

1.     School Daze: Mr. Watermelonfunkentitus by 2004177 (This teen remembers how fun it was to build a monster)

2.     School Daze: Being Shy by Hoodie234 (Shyness is a curse, but also a gift)

3.     School Daze: Ethical Affirmations by IRR1991 (A classroom exercise helped this teen realize her worth)

4.     School Daze by eric.j.comes (He had a negative first day experience)

5.     School Daze: The Worm Incident by freshfacedleader (She was dared to eat a worm)

6.     School Daze: The Time is Now by maryfaith88 (She took care of a bully situation herself)

7.     School Daze: All Too Familiar by dsherp97 (This teen remembers moving to another town)

8.     School Daze: Building Relationships by h15joledw (This teen was glad to have switched schools)

9.     School Daze: First Day In by Christian.GanalKeopuhiwa (Changing schools is scary, but you can adjust)

10.  School Daze: 3rd Grade by alyssaa22 (She liked dancing before class)

11.  School Daze: Greek Day by h15sasimm (This teen didn’t win the competition, but still had fun)

12.  School Daze: 5th Grade Catastrophe by author tonya (She had a strange first day at a new school)

13.  School Daze: A Valuable Lesson Learned from Mr. Chubs by katherine.k.chung (Her class didn’t win the coveted prize)

14.  School Daze: Forever Friends by yulia.gulyayeva (School is what you make of it)

15.  School Daze: Blindness by jeeinyoun (Do not judge others for how they act)

16.  School Daze: Pigs and Vegetarians by stv.chung1 (This teen learned about Hinduism in bio class)


Essays about Success

1.     School Daze: Redefining Success by taylorcain (Success should motivate us, not define us)

2.     School Daze: Words that Changed My Life by Gingersnap (Her teacher gave her a touching compliment)

3.     School Daze: First Day Freshie by Celeste (Her first day wasn’t as bad as she anticipated)

4.     School Daze: Seven Years by mahimaie (She was scared to start her new school)

5.     School Daze: I Kinda Felt Like a Big Deal by MissMelBell98 (She gave her a speech in front of her graduating class)

6.     School Daze: First Days of School by Ruth Oleynik (Life goes by so quickly)

7.     School Daze: The Grand Slam by haylaaayyy (She performed a very personal poem in a tournament)

8.     School Daze: Trade Fair by almontibon (This teen learned so much without even realizing it)

9.     School Daze: First Day of School by Ola (This teen had a rough first day)

10.  School Daze: Pre-School by h16kyagui (This teen remembers conquering some stairs)

11.  School Daze: New kid on the block by h16elomor (This teen was scared to change schools, but was glad to have switched)

12.  School Daze: High School in a Nutshell by kth6497 (Enjoy the time you have in high school)

13.  School Daze: Another Year, Another School by Koa Akima (This teen was afraid to change schools)

14.  School Daze: First Day by Joseph Kawamoto (This teen would do school all over again)

15.  School Daze: Desperation Breeds Success With Chicken-Fried Rice by ominor2 (All this teen wanted was some Chinese food)


Essays about Teachers

1.     School Daze: The Island Game by Katie__ (She remembers an eccentric teacher’s entertaining game)

2.     School Daze: Kedeana’s discovery by kedeana (Her teacher influenced how she is now)

3.     School Daze: The ‘Horrid’ Mr. H by andi620 (Her teacher’s tough love helped her excel)

4.     School Daze: ‘Scary’ Mr. D by kyra_c (She worked hard to improve in a difficult class)

5.     School Daze: Can Teachers Do That? by MandyShmandy (This teen remembers a time her mean teacher scolded her)

6.     School Daze: A Lesson in Tennis (and Truth) by skoreangirl (She remembers a disastrous but fun English lesson)

7.     School Daze: Teacher of My Year by wguil3 (One teacher made this teen excited to go to school)

8.     School Daze: The Model Teacher by morganclaireadamson (Her teacher encouraged her to write more)

9.     School Daze: The Forgotten Class by wevegotthesedays (This teen had a cruel teacher)


Essays about Misc. School Memories

1.     School Daze: Leaving My Mark with Gogurt by rsoonavala (This teen didn’t mean to leave a mark in the cafeteria…)

2.     School Daze: Clumsy Moments by LlamadalaFace.CopyrightMe (She remembers a few choice spills)

3.     School Daze: It’s Not “Hot” Chocolate, It’s Scorching! by DoctorArt (This teen remembers an unfortunate first experience with hot chocolate)

4.     School Daze: Voss Water by eeemilyyyyyy (She learned she didn’t like sparkling water)

5.     School Daze: Crazy school lunches by hunter-bottcher (This teen didn’t like school lunches)

6.     School Daze: Style is almost everything by MaryAlice (She accidentally ripped her pants in school)

7.     School Daze: The Caterpillar Life Cycle by WillTheWhiteGuy (He was excited to see the caterpillars turn into butterflies)

8.     School Daze: The day my life was changed forever by Fairybrielle (She remembers the day she knew she wanted to be a poet)

9.     School Daze: The Stuff of September by Alexandra Reinecke (This teen can’t believe it’s already almost school time)

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