“What a great time to be young!”
I hear this all the time. Along with:
“You have your whole life ahead of you.”
“What? You don’t have a boyfriend? Why not, I can’t even…” <— I hope that’s not just me.
So here I am, sitting in my cube [prison] while I write this, utilizing the only free time I’ve had all day. But the day is almost winding down and soon it’ll be closing time. WRONG! I am an engineer, there is never truly closing time, just always more work to be done that you’ll pretty much keep tackling until you either quit or retire. Then it just becomes another young engineer’s plight. So I’m sitting here, trying to find a reason why I’m here – currently the last place I ever thought I’d end up.
Growing up, there were so many upsides of being a part of Generation Y:
- being able to play outside until the streets lights come on without having to worry about a sniper or other forms of terrorism
- knowing your neighbors and playing with the kids in your neighborhood
- being able to turn on the radio and hear good music
- not even knowing what global warming is
- yay, we’re the leading force in Occupy Wall Street
- other things that are not fun
I grew up in a time where it was common to let children know that the sky is the limit. That I can be “whatever I want to be”. That there are opportunities everywhere for me. I am a part of the ‘blue ribbon for participation’, ‘gold star for effort’ generation, and the ‘no try-outs needed to make the team’ generation. I grew up in the generation of entitlement. The teachers would even praise the class troublemaker or the class bully that even he, could be the President of the United States when he gets older. In the long-run, I truly think that doing this just leads to misguided and unrealistic dreams. This wasn’t encouraging imagination, or thinking out of the box. It was just notifying us that anything that we wanted would be out in the world, magically waiting for us when we “grow-up”.
WE WERE DIFFERENT. WE WERE HOPE FOR THE FUTURE. Now, I’m starting to realize that employment-wise, I’m no different from my parents. I will work, get married, have kids, and continue to work until the last one graduates from college (which unfortunately for my parents is 2024). I won’t like my job, but I will know that there are people depending on my income. I will want to take a vacation for myself, but I will have to settle for vacation times that are convenient with my children’s education, and vacation at a terrible place that the children will enjoy, like Disney World.
In the meantime, my ideas hopes and dreams remain just that. Locked in my subconscious while I, at 22 years young, try to remain self-conscious. Working at a job that I feel no passion for, in order to pay back my loans. Money that I needed to borrow to get my bachelors degree – my ticket to “become whatever I wanted to be”. These false senses of entitlement leave most of us feeling lost, confused, frustrated, and unfulfilled. Nonetheless, I remain optimistic, with the hopes of a career change in the next 3 years.
If it’s one thing teachers should start encouraging, it’s imagination. If only creativity was encouraged more in schools. The world is changing so quickly that no one truly knows what the future holds for us. I bet that little kid out there somewhere that’s not following instructions and “building that popsicle house all wrong” could help one day. Another thing that needs to be encouraged is hard work.
Hard work + Imagination [+maybe some money] = more chances of success.
As the third of seven children, I was forced to grow up quickly. I’d give anything to pick the brain of my 9-yr old self. The child with the big hair, who thought she was the most hilarious thing ever, but was humble enough to know that she wasn’t the center of the universe. I bet I had some pretty good ideas.