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Being A Teenager In Britain Vs Being A Teenager In America

Drinking from red cups vs drinking in parks.

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1. In the US, you learned to drive at 15 or 16, especially if you lived in the ‘burbs.

Maybe you saved enough money from your summer job to buy an old car and spent the rest of high school demanding gas money from your friends for driving them around.

In the UK one of your friends might have passed their test at 17.

Probably because their grandma had an old Nissan Micra and she couldn’t see well enough to drive anymore.

You used it to go to the big supermarket out of town to get better deals on crates of Strongbow (using someone’s brother’s ID).

2. In the US you probably hung out with all your friends at the mall.

If you weren't at the mall you were probably at a place of great natural beauty.

Or the parking lot outside the mall.

In the UK you spent all your time getting drunk on cheap cider in a park.

Even if it was raining.

3. In the US you had homework every damn night from a really young age, and lots of tests every week.

Oh, and you got credit for “participation” that counted toward your grade, which basically meant you showed up to class. Most of the time.

In the UK your whole school career led up to your GCSEs, and nothing else mattered.

Apart from your AS-levels, which you could retake anyway. And then your A-levels, which were actually the ones that mattered.

4. In the US pretty much every college and university had a different application.

And each one cost money, and the rich kids could hire special counselors and afford to apply to dozens of colleges, and it was all a great big unfair nightmare.

And once you left university, you probably had tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, hooorraaaay!

In the UK you applied to all universities through one system called UCAS.

You wrote a personal statement of 4,000 characters to sum up your whole life thus far and sold yourself to a maximum of five universities.

5. In the US it was all about road trips.

The ultimate thing to do when someone in your crew could drive: Get in a car, hit the open road, drive for DAYS through mountains or forests or deserts, laugh and listen to jams and be carefree.

In the UK it was all about Kavos, Magaluf, or Zante.

You and your mates from school would go to somewhere hot in Europe, with cheap flights and a strip of clubs. It was all about getting as drunk as possible for as little money as possible.

6. In the US there was a lot of build-up to school dances.

You could be PROM KING or HOMECOMING QUEEN and it was all very high-stakes. Even if you didn't give a fuck, you probably still went to the dance 'cause your crush was going and who knows, maybe you’d get to slow-dance with Brett Gayman!

In the UK no one really had any school discos after the age of 12.

Some people had proms, but they have only recently become a thing and are pretty much a result of us being jealous of America. After you got your A-level results, all the crap clubs in your town probably competed to get you to come to their RESULTS RAVES.

7. In the US high school graduation was a BIG DEAL.

There were gifts, parties, gowns, hats, bands, and tearful speeches. Your friends’ parents all hugged you tenderly, and everyone said, “Congratulations!” or worse, “ConGRADulations!” as if you had achieved something more than the bare minimum.

Then you all signed yearbooks and it was beautiful and poetic and you cried.

In the UK your last day at school was thoroughly underwhelming.

Graduation is not a thing. It used to be when you would go collect your results, but that happens online now, so it's probably even more underwhelming.

8. High school–level American football is taken really, weirdly seriously. And cheerleading, too.

People go to their local high schools to watch school teams play even if their kids aren't playing. It's a bit much.

In the UK no one cares about school football.

Your dad would come watch you if he had nothing else going on and it was sunny. So not very often.

9. In the US pretty much only fancy private schools have uniforms.

So you could just rock whatever killer look you wanted.

In the UK pretty much everyone has to wear an ill-fitting suit, in a hideous colour scheme, probably from Marks & Spencer, for their whole school life.

It was all about how much you could customise it without getting told off. Short ties, untucked shirts, and rolled-up skirts were badass.

10. In your last year at high school in the US, senior pranks could be anything from toilet-papering the school to more elaborate plots.

In the UK muck-up days were about playing pranks on your teachers and messing up the school.

But in reality they always found a way to threaten you so you couldn't go too wild, and then you had to clean up afterwards. It was mainly to do with fancy dress and sneakily drinking in school.

11. In the US you couldn't drink 'til you were 21, so it was all about drinking at house parties when someone’s parents were away.

Or getting a shady fake ID.

In the UK you probably started drinking some ouzo your parents bought on holiday and forgot about at 14. You topped it up with water so they didn't notice.

Then at age 15 you realised there was one corner shop down the road that just didn't give a fuck and would sell you anything you wanted. Then at age 17 you found a pub that was desperate for money that would serve you snakebites. You would go there until the majority of your friends were 18, then you'd go to Wetherspoon’s because it's cheaper.