By Alena Tran, Ivette Barajas, and Kimberly Aguilar
Millennials are oftentimes criticized for being too lazy and too apathetic to worldly conflictions. There are many who believe this generation is merely made up of mindless, materialistic, social-media obsessed robots, but paradoxically, many are also convinced millennials care too much, or are too sensitive. It can be quite confusing for the younger generation, who are still growing and evolving, to be arraigned with sensitivity, but simultaneously, accused of “lacking passion” or “a drive.”
In fact, this incongruity is mostly present in academic settings. Many teachers have come to the conclusion that students are only incentivised by grades and no longer desire to learn for the sake of learning. Many have lost hope in this generation. For instance, we once had a teacher who determined that our lack of passion or indifference towards education means that we are too self-involved, while, in the same breath, chastised us for being too concerned with inclusivity and demanded us to get “thicker skin.”
Both perspectives of student and teacher are understandable. In retrospect, educators are forced to stand in front of an entire class of bored, seemingly indifferent teenagers. It is incredibly difficult to have a passion for a subject and have it not be returned in the same way. Admittedly, it is rare to even hear the words “I like” and “school” side by side.
But is it possible that an entire generation just stopped caring? Did millennials just let go of important subjects like English and depth and Calculus or current events?
We decided the best way to gage an answer was to ask high school students, the youngest of millennials and arguably, the most harshly criticized.
Itzell Ruiz, a senior, states that “high school has made me a tougher person…you go through ups and downs in life, mostly from homework. I just want to cry; I’m very stressed. It’s made me a very emotional person. I’ve never cried as much as I have in high school.”
Following her confession, Ahmed Musa also explains, “We just have so much busy work, stuff that doesn’t enrich us or help us in any way…”
Andrew Wallace also adds onto his feelings towards academia and this education system, saying that “It just feels mandatory…it sucks that people who aren’t interested in some of these subjects are forced to do the work and take the classes just to get a grade to please people. It’s not for themselves anymore. It doesn’t feel like a choice.”
Vyvyanna Tran, a sophomore, furthers this important conversation. She tells us, “Everyone is interested in something, but it is difficult to exemplify your passion when there are a ton of other classes and coursework to concern yourself with. I feel like it stopped being about the passion a long time ago. Colleges are getting more competitive by the minute. And I don’t think it’s possible to intensely dedicate yourself to each class. That would probably be very self-destructive..kids stopped being passionate because they don’t have the time. They go to school and finish what they can; everyone’s just getting by. We’re all pretty stressed.”
She has a point there. Studies have shown that millennials are the most stressed out generation compared to any of the prior. High school millennials especially are pressured to prepare for life and their futures all while still finding themselves and their places in the world.
Although it may not be true for everyone, it can be agreed that students are becoming indifferent as a method of coping. There is a major misunderstanding between the old generation and the current. Megan, a freshman, believes that “Obviously, most teachers want to help kids. My advice to them is to stop trying to get us to care. Not all students can care about the same subject, some are too tired to even think about school. I appreciate the effort [teachers give] while helping with grades or [understanding] something. School is hard, but it’s still important for the future. I suggest that they keep doing developing student’s minds but I also think they should stop trying to force a passion. I have a positive outlook on life and think everyone has a passion and a drive, when we have time for it, it’ll break through.”
As for the stressed, young people freaking out about their own futures, Kyle, an incredibly laid-back dude, has some great advice for you: “Don’t look down on yourself, look up at yourself…don’t worry about the things that don’t or will not matter one day, like a bad grade. Try your best and make it worthwhile and remember to take something of substance from the experience.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.