Katy Perry, Michael Jordan, Bill Gates and Others Share What They Wish They'd Known as a Teenager; Newsweek Asked Some of the Biggest Names in Music, Sports, TV and Technology to Answer the Question 'What Advice Do You Have for Teenagers?'

By Ziv, Stav; Walker, Lauren et al. | Newsweek, May 27, 2016 | Go to article overview

Katy Perry, Michael Jordan, Bill Gates and Others Share What They Wish They'd Known as a Teenager; Newsweek Asked Some of the Biggest Names in Music, Sports, TV and Technology to Answer the Question 'What Advice Do You Have for Teenagers?'


Ziv, Stav, Walker, Lauren, Bort, Ryan, Schonfeld, Zach, Newsweek


Byline: Ryan Bort , Zach Schonfeld , Stav Ziv

, and Lauren Walker

In 1966, Newsweek published a landmark cover story, "The Teen-Agers: A Newsweek Survey of What They're Really Like," investigating everything from politics and pop culture to teens' views on their parents, their future and the world. The article was based on an extensive survey of nearly 800 teens across the country, and it also profiled six teens in depth, including a black teen growing up in Chicago, a Malibu girl, and a farm boy in Iowa. Fifty years later, Newsweek set out to discover what's changed and what's stayed the same for American teens. The result, "The State of the American Teenager," offers fascinating and sometimes disturbing insights into a generation that's plugged in, politically aware, and optimistic about their futures, yet anxious about their country.

"Take some time to disconnect from your devices and connect with yourself--whether that's 20 minutes a day by meditating or leaving your phone in the car on a hike--to allow your mind to have an uninterrupted train of thought, which breeds creativity." --Katy Perry, pop star

"Know that this is just the beginning. You are finding your feet, voice and identity now, but your growth is far from over. Be patient and work incredibly hard. There will be many opportunities if you are open and use all of your resources. However, be careful not to step on people to get to where you want to go. The world is a small place, and it's nice to know you have presented your best self throughout your journey. Value and appreciate those who have been there to give you advice. It doesn't make you weak to accept advice. Having mentors in your life will help you to learn from them and not repeat their mistakes. They'll help you to be better, smarter and stronger. What the future holds for you is so exciting: Take it on and accept the challenges with care and strength. Know that we want the world to be a better place and you hold the power to make it so." --Misty Copeland, principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre

"If you're like me, being a teenager makes you nervous. Oh, the questions! Am I going to go to college? Do I need to go to college? Where? Am I popular, or well-liked among those I'd like to like me? It goes on and on. In the theater or show business, there's a saying: 'If you quit being nervous, quit doing it.' The key is to turn that nervousness, about whatever it may be--college entrance exams, learning to drive, learning to flirt, learning which people, and especially which parties, to avoid--into excitement. Then a second bit of advice: Get enough sleep. It's surprising to me even now, but while you're asleep, you're growing. Your muscles get stronger, and your brain gets bigger. Being a teenager is like settling into a class and encountering a pop quiz. You can't quite be sure what's next, but if you keep balance in your life, you'll achieve great things as you grow. We adults want you to be great at what you do and change the world." --Bill Nye, TV show host, activist and noted "Science Guy"

"It seems unavoidable that you will develop some kind of paralyzing insecurity in your teens. It happens to everyone--everyone--and, commonly, it carries over into adulthood. These insecurities will hold you back in every aspect of your life, so be brave and talk to someone about it. It really helps. Or maybe stop following Kendall and Kylie on Instagram. Constantly comparing yourself to others is no way to live, and I hope you find that out sooner than I did.

Also, sleep in as much as you can." --Nikki Glaser, comedian and star of Comedy Central's Not Safe

"Solve the hard problems. This year, Melinda and I addressed our Annual Letter to high school students, because you're the ones who will ultimately be solving the problems that keep the world from being a more equitable place. Imagine life without energy: no electricity, gasoline or any other source. …

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Katy Perry, Michael Jordan, Bill Gates and Others Share What They Wish They'd Known as a Teenager; Newsweek Asked Some of the Biggest Names in Music, Sports, TV and Technology to Answer the Question 'What Advice Do You Have for Teenagers?'
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