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FHS 1500 Observation #4

Adolescence 13-18 years

Melissa Duffy
Assignment: Observation #4
Age 17
Fictitious name: Katie
Location: I work in a restaurant in Sugarhouse as a server on Friday and Saturday
nights. Katie is a hostess there. We have been working together for about 6
months and have a friendly relationship that permits her being comfortable
answering personal questions. After our shifts I bought us a pizza and we talked for
about an hour.

PHYSICAL/DEVELOPMENT: At seventeen years old Katie is through most of

puberty. She could be mistaken for a woman in her mid-twenties and tells me that
she often is. Puberty usually starts between ages 8 and 14most physical growth
and maturation ends about four years after the first signs appear, though some
individuals add height, weight, and muscle until age 20 or so (Berger, 319). She
started menstruating at 13, which is common as the average for girls is about 12
years and 8 months (Berger, 320).
Katie is a night owl. She likes to stay up late and hates waking up in the morning.
She likes working in the restaurant because of the late hours, but is struggling in
school because she is late and often misses her first classes. She is experiencing a
phase delay in sleep-wake cycles, making many teens wide awake and hungry at
midnight but half asleep with little appetite or energy all morning (Berger, 322).
As a member of her high school soccer team Katie exercises often and has a good
body image. She says she is always hungry and doesnt worry about how much she
eats. She appears to be at a good body weight and healthy. She tells me that many
of her friends worry about their weight all the time, but she thinks it is silly and
like to eat. I asked her if many of her friends have eating disorders and she reports
that there are rumors but her closest friends are all very active and eat and exercise
without much anxiety.
COGNATIVE DEVELOPMENT: Katies job is to interact with strangers in a busy
restaurant. She is the first person a customer will speak with and is often giving
them bad newsuch as it will be an hour for a table. She is uncomfortable with
much of this interaction and overestimates how much a customer is probably
thinking negatively of her. Her adolescent egocentrism lends her to think of herself
as many teenagers do far more socially significant than they actually are (Berger,
333). I watch her work and most customers barely notice the girl at the host stand,
but she reports feeling watched and judged most of the night.

Although she is having difficulties in her early morning classes due to attendance
issues, Katie is a good student. She plans to attend the University of North Carolina
and has already accrued some AP credit. She tells me she is a good test taker and
has done well on the college placement tests. She has good logic and deductive
reasoning skills and from a developmental stage seems to be capable of abstract
logic, as is to be expected at about 15 to 18 years of age (Berger, 344).
She is an excellent soccer player, and plans to play in college. Increased
myelination and still-underdeveloped inhibition, reactions become lightning fast
(Berger, 350). She is fast and quick to make decisions both on and off the field.
SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL: Erik Erikson defined the primary goal of adolescence as
identity versus role confusion. Katie is confident young women. She describes
herself as a soccer player and seems to know who she is in terms of her family
relationships and peer group. She doesnt seem to suffer from role confusion as she
has many goals for her future and is able to describe her value system to me
(Berger, 356).
Erikson defines religious, political, vocational, and sexual as the four aspects of
identity (Berger, 357). Katie identifies with the religious beliefs she was raised with.
Although she plans to move far from home for college she thinks she will stay active
in the religious faith that her parents are members of.
Politically she is far more liberal than her parents. They are conservative
republicans and she plans to go join the Peace Corps one day. She self identifies as
an independent which is more common in the 21 st century (Berger, 358). She
hopes to study environmental science and plans to join the peace corp. She works
around 10 hours a week at the restaurant, and spends most of her earnings on
clothing and activities with friends. Her parents bought her a car but she pays for
her own gas. She says that work doesnt affect her school, but as a co-worker I
know she often gets her shift covered.
Katie is just beginning to explore her sexual identity. Her religious beliefs are such
that sexual intercourse is not something she expects to do outside of marriage. She
dates boys occasionally, mostly in groups of friends. She plans to study
environmental science, far fewer women traditionally go into the sciences (Berger,
360). She says she is not too worried about gender roles. She might want children
one day, but at this point in her life she doesnt know what that family structure or
gender roles might look like.