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Question Of The Day

What Was Your Greatest Achievement at 15 Years Old?

"I had my first kiss at 15. It was horrible but it felt like an achievement."

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Aged 15, I spent most of my time colour coding my two-tone braces, making sure the song on my MySpace profile accurately reflected my mood and writing painfully bad poetry about the very few boys I knew.

This week, it was announced that there’s a 15-year-old in America who’s working on the Soyuz-TMA-09M’s mission to the International Space Station. Abigail Harrison got in touch with NASA for a history project, started blogging about space and eventually persuaded astronaut Luca Parmitano to be her mentor. She’ll be working as his earth liaison while he’s in space and seems pretty confident that she'll be the first astronaut on Mars. All of which beats what I was doing by about 400 adult experience points.


I wanted to find out whether Londoners I don’t know identify more with Abigail Harrison or me, so I went to ask them a question: What was your biggest achievement aged 15?

Lallie (left) and Anna.

Anna, 18, art student: Getting sold alcohol.

What was the first booze you bought?
Lallie, 19, art student: A Bacardi Breezer.
Anna: I still had braces.

That's pretty impressive. What was your favourite flavour?
Lallie: The orange one. It was so tropical.

So exotic.

Sam, 19, advertising executive: I hadn't achieved anything at 15. I was just doing far too much underage drinking.

There’s a 15-year-old girl who’s probably going to Mars. How does that make you feel?

Does it make you feel inadequate?
Yes. I have clearly achieved nothing.

Alex, 18, intern: I played a show in a theatre near where I lived and it sold out. I wasn’t expecting that.

What did you play?
The acoustic guitar.

Did you hear about the 15-year-old going to Mars? The good news is that I'm pretty sure she hasn't played a sold out acoustic gig yet.
Jesus Christ. That puts my life into perspective. Now I feel awful.


Pepps, 50, charity worker: I was a little punk rocker when I was 15.

What did that entail?
I went to the King’s Road most Saturdays and bought stuff from Vivienne Westwood. Is that an achievement?

I think it’s more of a hobby. What was the best thing you got?
Bondage trousers.

That’s an achievement at 15, I guess. How much did they cost?
I think they were around £90.


Wow, cool. That's the most impressive achievement I've heard yet.

Mitur, 28, sales worker: I took a GCSE intermediate exam one year early.

Oh, that's pretty good. What did you get?
I got a B.

Did you want an A star?
You couldn’t get an A star. I was a 15-year-old taking a 16-year-old’s exam. A B was as high as you could get.

Well done. How did you celebrate?
I don’t think I did.

That’s a shame.

Arianna (left) and Jenny.

Jenny, 25, student: Getting into the sixth form college I really wanted to get into.
Arianna, 26, student: I had my first kiss at 15. It was horrible but it felt like an achievement.

There’s a 15-year-old who’s probably going to Mars.
Jenny: I would not want to do that.

Why not?
It’s a long way away and you might not be able to come back.

Yes. It is risky.

Previously - What's Your Emergency Today?