June 21, 2011 14:31 ET Reports School and Self-Image Are Top Challenges for Teens

YORK, PA--(Marketwire - Jun 21, 2011) -, a free blog resource for teenagers and college students, asked the question, "What was the most difficult thing you overcame this school year?" as part of its monthly national writing contest.

Over 6,000 students visited's writing contest, with 1,400+ votes registered in the corresponding teen survey. Teens ranked the following issues as the greatest challenges during the 2010-2011 school year:

  • School (bullying, teachers, homework, graduation): 27%
  • Self-Image: 20%
  • Parents: 16%
  • Friends: 14%
  • Boyfriend/Girlfriend: 8%
  • Siblings: 4%
  • Drugs and Alcohol: 2%
  • Extended Family: 1%
  • Other: 9%

Hundreds of students submitted an essay about their personal obstacles. Topics dealt with break-ups, rape, psyche wards, a soldier's transition from combat to civilian life, losing a parent/friend, and more. From the submissions, five trends emerged about teen problems:

1. School: By far, school was the #1 stressor for teens this year. Teens talked about AP courses, problems with grades, long-term projects, and high expectations they set for themselves -- and were afraid they couldn't reach.

2. Self-Image: Teens struggled with confidence. Many of these stories boiled down to a similar moral: be yourself, love yourself, and most importantly, enjoy yourself.

3. Sports: Many teens suffered sports related injuries and failures. While this had teens sitting on the bench, it did not have these teens settling with disappointment or failure -- these mishaps only inspired teens to try harder, and do better.

4. Drugs/alcohol: The good news -- many teens did not write about struggling with drug or alcohol problems, which speaks positively of the Stage of Life community. Stage of Life strives to be a support system and community for all walks of life -- without the interference of nuisances like intoxicants.

5. Positive: All teens wrote about viewing these struggles positively. If nothing else, these teens discovered that life is a learning experience; a journey, not a destination.

A full summary of the writing contest, with a list of finalists and the winning essays, can be viewed at: is a free blog for all generations. It hosts writing contests, printable coupons, coupon codes, and blog directories geared towards each stage of life. Other specialized content includes free lesson plans, life resources, videos, statistics, and more!

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