The kids. They’re off the hook this generation, aren’t they? Kinda wild, kinda crazy. They don’t really know what they’re doing.
They’re doing a lot more than you think.
Remember the old saying, jack of all trades, master of none? It’s what your snarky friend says to you when they realize you’re better at something new than they are, to make you a little angry. They’re trying to say yeah, well, you’re good at this. And that other thing. And that other one. But are you REALLY good at anything?
And damn, if that doesn’t get under your skin, right?
There’s the second half to that saying, and you might know it. Now, the problem is, I think today’s society has taken it a bit too far.
Jack of all trades, master of none. But better than being a master of one.
Suddenly, if I want to get accepted to my top universities, I have to be… well, not only the jack of all trades, I have to master two or three. Being really, really good at one thing isn’t even going to help me anymore. And being kind of good at everything is utterly useless.
I have to pad my resume, stuff my transcript. But at the same time, I’ve got to have cherry-on-top achievements that make me stand out.
Somehow, I have to get straight As in the hardest classes at school, I have to have started at least two clubs and done a whole fundraiser charity donation project, I have to be editor at the school newspaper because just writing for it doesn’t show leadership skills, I have to write the extra research papers that my courses assign and expect, I have to have some sort of activity that I’ve been pursuing for 12 years and be some sort of prodigy at it, and while I’m at it, I should be showing some sort of carefree happy-go-lucky I love to try new things attitude. As if I’m not practically falling apart at the seams.
So, to be a bit short, that’s what’s wrong with the kids. A bit too much pressure, a bit too much stress, high expectations and no way to reach them.
‘Aunty’s daughter is the president of her school’s honor society, did you hear?’
Yeah, I heard.
‘The neighbor’s son won a championship for basketball, you know that?’
I figured – I saw the picture on Instagram.
‘Your cousin did a charity project, and she sent everything back to India, did you see?’
I didn’t see that one… thanks for telling me, I guess.
‘Ah, she lost a lot of weight. How does she look so nice? You should ask her.’
No thanks… I don’t think I will.
‘Uncle’s son got an internship to the NSA for a robotics project, you know?’
Yep. I know.
Somehow… somehow, I have to do all of them. If I’m sitting on the sofa trying to write up my draft for the research paper due next month, it’s ‘you’re so lazy, you’re always on the sofa. Do something active for once.’
If I’m trying to relax and learn a dance, it’s ‘don’t you have any homework to do? This isn’t productive.’
If I’m working on my music, my first love and the passion I wrote about in all my college essays, it’s ‘when will you do something useful?’
It’s almost like, before I grew up, society (my parents) carved me a spot in the world (in their household). It fits direct to measurements, sharp corners, and angles, heavyset marble. No room for adjustment.
I grew up a little wonky, I guess – that mold didn’t quite work. I don’t fit into that empty space, and somehow I have to go at that slab of marble with my own hammer and nail and somehow carve myself my own space. But how am I supposed to do that with everyone’s hands trying to shove me into that tight fit of a space that they made for me?
My father frowns in disappointment whenever he sees a new pimple on my skin and he comments offhandedly that it’s probably because of stress, but then ten minutes later he will scold me for not taking proper care of my skin. What do I do? I’m sorry I couldn’t reduce my own stress levels. Sorry, I’m running on five hours of sleep a night, if I’m lucky. What else is there to do?
So yeah, there’s something wrong with the kids. But… it’s not their fault. They were raised this way. There’s no saving them now. All we can do is hope they’re strong enough to save themselves.