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  • Kareem Nasr and Vidhan Bokaria

The Plight of Those Born Late

As a high-school student, there are very few things worse than having a late birthday. You might mistakenly believe that having a birthday in the latter part of the year, the fall or winter would be a positive thing—after all, you get to celebrate your birthday in the early part of the school year and during the holidays right?

Wrong, so very wrong. Let me tell you, having a late birthday is a special, cruel and extreme kind of torture that only the unluckiest among us can ever truly understand. Some of you reading may be thinking to yourself, “You’re being dramatic.” Wrong again. If anything, I am not being dramatic enough, and if you think this way, you need to reflect on your lack of compassion and empathy, or seek help to mend your jaded heart.

High school sophomores across the world are discovering that their birthday, that annoying little date that marks their annual trip around the sun, is delaying their ability to obtain a driver's permit, and eventually a license. Yes, you actually read that correctly. Being born at the wrong time of year, losing the birthday roulette game, can prevent you from hitting the road with all the other teen drivers in your grade.

"It’s important to spread awareness about the many and harmful social implications of the tragedy of having a late birthday."

It’s important to spread awareness about the many and harmful social implications of the tragedy of having a late birthday. When you’re the last one in your friend group to turn sixteen or whatever milestone birthday you’re desperately waiting for, you might as well be a toddler. Even though we are talking about a few months' age difference, it may as well be a thousand years.

Everyone else in your grade has already gotten their driver’s licenses, driving around in his or her car, or doing whatever it is that cool older kids do these days. Meanwhile, you’re stuck at home with your parents, playing Scrabble and binging reality TV shows, wondering if you’ll ever get to experience the beautiful freedom that your friends take for granted simply due to the timing of their birth.

If you are lucky enough to have friends that take pity on you and still wish to include you socially, you can alternatively find yourself in the backseat of your sixteen year old friend's new car, counting down the seconds to your birthday.

Some grow exasperated and utter lines such as,“I can't believe that my birthday is getting in the way of my freedom and driving!!”

Despite the frustration and confusion among late-born teens everywhere, it seems that the lead cause of this problem lies in the fact that each state has its own rules and regulations when it comes to issuing driver's permits. In many cases, students are required to complete a certain number of hours of instruction and behind-the-wheel training before they can even think about getting their permit. And since these requirements are often tied to age, students born later in the year are at a disadvantage.

To the sadness of many, the state does not take into account maturity levels. There are many people with early birthdays that technically are of age to drive, but should not be allowed to do so. Due to the state’s arguably ageist policies when it comes to driving, the sixteen-year-old threat to pedestrians has more of a right to drive than the responsible fifteen-year-old in the same grade who, by no fault of hir or her own, was born at an inauspicious time.

“It's just not fair,” a disgruntled student complained. “I mean, my friend who was born in January got his permit months ago, and he's barely even driven! Meanwhile, I'm stuck waiting until I'm practically a senior in high school to drive just because I was born in November. It's absolutely ridiculous.”

A possible solution is to make the age requirement a grade level rather than an age. For example, if you had to be a sophomore to obtain a permit rather than sixteen, it wouldn’t matter if you have a late birthday. All would have equal right to drive a car and avoid ostracization.

But all is not lost for us younger kids! Having a late birthday will pay off later in life, when we don’t want to get older. When our peers enter their 30s and 40s, and the crisis that is associated with middle age, we will have the last laugh. Until then, enjoy the extra few months you can enjoy before eligibility for the draft.


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