Ariel DeNeve, Marengo, Iowa

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Ariel with her cat Coal

Being thirteen is really stressful. We're constantly pressured into doing well in school.

TIME Cover Story

0 Being Thirteen
What's on their minds? TIME takes an inside look at an age of mystery and challenge

Thirteens on Thirteen

Thirteen-year olds share their reflections
We think we are being pressured into having a boy/girl friend. We're pressured into fitting in so we're not one of the geeks. We're pressured into sports so we're known. At home we're pressured into being on our best behavior or acting our age. We try so had but it seems like no one ever notices. We face peer pressure every day. Some are pressured into drugs, alcohol and even sex. The lucky ones are pressured into doing well in school, behaving and reaching their goals.

All that pressure builds up and you have a breakdown. Some choose to handle this by suicide. The best way to handle a breakdown is to go to a room and just cry.