The Price We Pay
St. John is like no other place in the world. Where else is there where one must slow down for donkeys, live in a place called “Love City” and be able to go to the most beautiful beaches? It is no doubt a little piece of paradise.
But growing up as a teenager in the Virgin Islands, despite what some may think, is not the party everyone suspects it to be. There are limited activities, it is quite expensive, and the pressure to do drugs is abnormally high.
Because St. John residents live in a top spot destination, the cost of living is higher than it would be in Small Town, USA. And there is really nothing residents can do down here. But how is a teenager, trying to balance school, and friends — and without completely milking off parents — supposed to afford it?
Working is always an option, but that could put a student’s grades in jeopardy. It seems like a win lose situation. But so many teenagers are forced to do just that — get a job where they make more money than an average teacher does because of the insane tips that those generous tourists leave. But staying up until the wee hours has to be detrimental to school.
Even if residents love the beach, surfing, snorkeling, diving, skim boarding, tanning, etc., once can only spend so many hours in a day turning into a piece of toast. The sun goes down, and then what does one do?
For those who are not over the age of 18, activities become very limited. Island nightlife, for whatever reason, is all about going out and having a party. Whether one is at Woody’s, Lizard’s, Skinny Legs, or the Beach Bar, they are just there to have fun.
And although the drinking age is not always taken that seriously, going out on the town every night would not only be expensive, but detrimental to the mind and body of a teenager.
Along with alcohol, the threat to do drugs is insanely high. Drugs are commonly talked about, t-shirts are worn, and it seems to be supported. And with the lack of activities, teenagers may tend to grow bored with their lives and want to explore a new realm.
This realm is dangerous, and altogether a wrong place to be. It may seem cool to do at the time, but the side effects and the damage it does to a teenager’s body can affect them for the rest of their lives.
So what can students do to fix boredom in the Virgin Islands? Students can always hope for a recreational center where they may go hang out, such as a YMCA.
The Gifft Hill School has already acknowledged the lack of activities on St. John and now has an after-school game room where children from all over the island are allowed to gather — or, students can make their own fun by nviting friends over, watching movies, eating pizza, and trying to stay a teenager as long as possible.