When You’re Wondering What Teen Spirit Smells Like, It’s This


For starters, the smell of a new book should ring a few bells. There is no denying that a new book smells of passion, knowledge, and power, but most importantly, it has the scent of the desire to learn something not for the grades, but simply for one’s hunger. Teen spirit smells like the first whiff from turning the pages of a new book right after the end of the semester – the smell of freedom, pure leisure, and the state of being devoid of expectations from any professors or colleagues.

It is the smell of the eagerness to change one’s self and life in order to hopefully change the world.

Teen spirit also smells like the strong aroma of coffee, and I believe there’s no surprise in this. It smells of the amalgamated scent of latte, cappuccino, and Americano inside the coffee shop at eight in the morning. It is the scent of exhaustion from studying the previous night, but at the same time, it is also the scent of hard work – a proof that despite being deprived of sleep, there is still the desire to learn, to graduate, and to create the life that has been painted at the back of one’s head for quite some time. However, there is also the smell of coffee at night when the whole world seems to be asleep aside from the few whose only lights are those from their computer screens and study table lamps; groggy-eyed and dying to get some sleep, but tomorrow’s finals won’t allow them to rest.

Teen spirit is the scent of coffee that does not seem to go away – morning until night, it’s just dancing in the air, with the people who ordered or made them wanting to see neither their eyes nor their grades drop.

Then we have the smell of alcohol – beer, gin and tonics, vodka, tequila, you name it. Teen spirit that comes in the smell of alcohol is the stench of either success or failure. Success places alcohol as a substance within the realm of celebration. In this case, its scent is that of hope and triumph; a scent that serves as an evidence that all the sleepless nights have paid of, or in romantic cases, an evidence that one has finally found a person to love and that person surely loves them back. On another hand, we have alcohol as a seemingly apt metaphor for failure – a proof that one still has a lot to learn and that the room for improvement remains huge. There is no need to fret though, because the stench of failure from the tang of alcohol speaks nothing but the potential to grow and learn.

It might even be that one big push that will make one strive harder, and we all know that nothing bad comes from hard work.

Lastly, there is no disregarding of the smell of bleach, hair color, detergent, unmade beds, dirty laundry, leftover food, crappy breakfast, old perfume, CD albums, movie DVDs, soda, and university libraries – all of which scream life. Teen spirit smells of self-exploration and discovery; of the never-ending journey and travelling; of not wanting to stay in one place; of that one particular thing that makes the heart keep on beating; and of dreams and aspirations. Teen spirit is the redolence of all that has been, what is being, and what could possibly be. It smells of both innocence and intellect; of the perpetual desire to discover and be discovered; of the need to love and be loved.

Teen spirit smells of the adventures, miseries, tragedies, beauties, and paradoxes of living, and there is no way on earth that its scent will stop lingering on.