David Robson in BBC:
Terri Apter, a psychologist, still remembers the time she explained to an 18-year-old how the teenage brain works: “So that’s why I feel like my head’s exploding!” the teen replied, with pleasure. Parents and teachers of teens may recognise that sensation of dealing with a highly combustible mind. The teenage years can feel like a shocking transformation – a turning inside out of the mind and soul that renders the person unrecognisable from the child they once were. There’s the hard-to-control mood swings, identity crises and the hunger for social approval, a newfound taste for risk and adventure, and a seemingly complete inability to think about the future repercussions of their actions.
In the midst of this confusion, adolescents are consistently assessed for their academic potential – with ramifications that can last a lifetime. No one’s fate is sealed at 18 – but an impeccable school record will certainly make it far easier to find a place at a prestigious university, which will in turn widen your options for employment. Yet the emotional rollercoaster of those years can make it extremely difficult for teens to reach their intellectual potential.