Rate this
0 (0 votes)
"The fast track to success has been pulled out from under our feet"
0 out of 5 based on 0 user ratings

"The fast track to success has been pulled out from under our feet"

Young graduates entering the real world today are facing a brutal reality check. Not every dream is instantly achievable, says Alisha Lewis, 19, a Commonwealth Correspondent from New Zealand. At least not when you have bills to pay.

We’re a pretty idealistic generation.

We flaunt our freedom in a way no other generation before us has done. We can dress however we want, we can say whatever we want, and we can wear our sexuality on our sleeves. There are few expectations placed on us aside from going out there and chasing our dreams.

It’s a nice feeling really, to have the whole world support you. To grow up amidst a constant stream of ‘you can do whatever you want to do and be whoever you want to be’.

In turn, we’ve evolved into a generation needing instant, constant gratification: a generation of gold stars and pats on the back, doled out certificates and medals simply for participating. There was little distinction made between the superstars and the common kids, because, as numerous children’s picture books and Sesame Street and the world in general would have it: we are all special.

Of course Sally could become a runway model if that’s what she really wanted – she’s a pretty girl after all. And sure, little Pete could very well become CEO of Telecom one day, if that was his dream.

And to put the cherry on top of our idealistic ice cream sundae, we all grew up thinking that a university education is our ticket to a dream job: that just days after receiving that shiny new degree we’re going to be bombarded with new opportunities, well on our way to hosting our own television show or running that multinational corporation.

Nobody ever thought that once we get that piece of paper we might actually find it hard to get a job – that we might have to move back home with our parents. That for the first time, mediocrity won’t be met with a certificate or a pat on the back. Instead, there’ll be a big fat student loan or power bill or overdue rent payment and, often, no steady source of income. For the first time, there will be a big distinction between the superstars and everyone else.

Had the world financial markets not crashed in October 2008, had the world not changed drastically since then, things would probably be different. The job market would be thriving and open and our idealism would be greeted with that pat on the back. Our confidence would be rewarded. Our sense of entitlement would be satisfied.

But the world did change. People aren’t willing to take risks on us based on our sheer idealism anymore.

Suddenly, putting in the hard yards has become what counts. There’s no longer a fast track to success – it’s been pulled out from under our feet and graduates are struggling to regain their balance. Because for a generation that’s grown up with silver platters and instant gratification, this whole hard work thing is a new concept to grasp.

Unless you’re really brilliant, unless you’re one of the special few (because no, we’re not all special), it’s a long road to get to the dream, and unfortunately there’s not enough room in the overcrowded market for everyone to make the grade.

Sally is never going to make it to Milan – the best she might get is a gig doing the K-Mart catalogues. And Pete isn’t going to become the CEO of Telecom; he’s more likely to end up working in their call centre.

Young graduates entering the real world are facing a brutal reality check. We aren’t superhuman. Not every dream is instantly achievable – or at least, not when you have bills to pay.

The job market is so competitive right now that many graduates are finding themselves working part-time or at a job that doesn’t require a university degree. These types of jobs rarely provide a steady stream of income, and this has seen a new trend emerge: more and more graduates are moving back home with their parents.

But what happens then? We haven’t been taught how to deal with setbacks like this – because we haven’t had to consider the possibility that, well, not everything is possible. Instead, we’re finding ourselves becoming limbo graduates: hovering aimlessly between two different phases of life. It’s hard to be excited about your future when you’re moving back into your past.

It’s not really our fault though. It’s almost as though the world spent the bulk of our lives setting us up to be the butt of some big joke. We were raised to be idealistic – we were made this way – but when push came to shove, we were presented with a world that rejects it all and expects something completely different of us.

Luckily, we’re still young, we can still change. And change is what young people do best. Whether it’s changing our physical appearance or our lifestyle or inciting social revolution, we have a sense of power that comes along with our age and our open futures.

We have our whole lives still lying ahead of us.

We don’t have to give up our dreams at all. We just have to work harder for them.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

About me:

“I’m a journalism student from Auckland, New Zealand. Originally from India, my family moved to New Zealand when I was four years old. I love writing – both creative and transactional – as well as reading, theatre, travelling and dancing.

“Aside from studying, I work as an intern for ONE News – at TVNZ, our national broadcaster – and as sub-editor for my university magazine. I hope to enter into journalism, ultimately working for established editorial publications within New Zealand or overseas.”

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Comments

comments

Powered by Facebook Comments