How old are you? Appearances lead to confusing situations

By Gabrielle Onyema

Some can pass by unnoticed in crowds of adults. Some go unnoticed in crowds of younger teenagers. It is only when they sit down with someone their own age, that the confusion begins.

“People mistake my age a lot. A lot of them are strangers,” said Elijah Olomoniyi, Div. 456.

Because he looks older, Olomoniyi ran into trouble with a teacher back in grade school.

“There was one time when I was thirteen, I was dating this girl in another school. Her teacher saw me and thought I was like, seventeen. He thought I was a pedophile dating a thirteen year old. He said it was really inappropriate,” Olomoniyi said.

Olomoniyi had to show his school I.D. to the teacher to prove his age.

Kids that look older are often misidentified as adults at first glance.

Miles Strong-Austin, Div. 454, understands the feeling of looking older. When Strong-Austin went to his cousin’s wedding, he was surprised by the number of older female guests that tried to flirt with him, believing he was older.

Most of the women “in their twenties” approached Strong-Austin on the dance floor of the wedding hall. It was there, that they said things like, “You’re really handsome,” and, “so, how old are you?” When Strong-Austin revealed his true age, the shocked women quickly left him alone.

“I was kind of weirded out because they were older, but it was funny too. And kind of uncomfortable,” Strong-Austin said.

Ben Sodolski, Div. 479 is a fraternal triplet. Though his siblings were all born together, they don’t look alike.

“My brother looks about two years younger than me even though we’re the same age,” Sodolski said. When he was younger, Sodolski went with his brother to the DMV for a state I.D.. The workers mistook Sodolski as his brother’s father.

Adults are not the only ones that get confused. Students in the same grade level often mistake each other’s ages.

Jeremiah Camphor, Div. 762, is a six foot tall freshman and he is no stranger to people mistaking him for an adult. He prefers looking older.

When Camphor was in his third period gym class, he accidentally knocked another freshman down. When the kid looked up and saw Camphor towering over him, he apologized to Camphor for running into him.

For people that look younger, the reactions are similar. Ms. Diamond, an art teacher, has experienced people thinking she was younger than she really was. Security guards often mistake her for a student.

“If I’m not wearing my I.D. when I come into the building, the security will tell me to go around to the lunchroom. I have to tell them that I’m a teacher,” Diamond said.

Because she looks young, Diamond tries to avoid passing periods or being in the halls during classes. Once, when she was walking to another classroom to help out a teacher, she heard a group of kids using horrible language on the stairs.

“I told them to watch their language, and they just went, ‘why?’. When they saw my teacher I.D. they were like, ‘oh my god, I’m so sorry’. I told them to go to class,” Diamond said.

Some students prefer looking older. They feel like people take them more seriously if they appear older.

“I like it. It makes me feel mature,” Camphor said. He agrees that sometimes people get intimidated by him because of it.

There are quite a few perks to looking older besides being taken more seriously. Some have enjoyed their experiences of being mistaken for older than they are.

“I get into places I shouldn’t be in. Movies, clubs, I can just walk in. I can buy things I couldn’t buy,” Olomoniyi said.

Students even younger than Olominiyi, a senior, are able to have experiences like this because they look older.

“I go on cruises and they got clubs for different ages. I was twelve at the time and I got to sneak into a club for fifteen year olds,” Lacarri Reaves, Div. 754, said.
There are also downsides to not looking your age.

“I went into a store to buy a coloring book in the beginning of the year and the lady got nasty with me. She said I was too old for that stuff. I was only thirteen,” Kamora Blake, Div. 756, said.

“When I want to be taken seriously, I prefer looking older,” Diamond said.

Blake does not like looking older. She constantly corrects anyone who mistakes her age.

“I don’t feel mature. I just want to act my age,” Blake said.