Many young, growing students have a perpetual image of themselves branded into their brain, formed since they were a little kid. People like that, like me, thrive off of blueprints for the future, accumulating all the right pieces to fit themselves into the person they so desperately want to be. Our society projects a single ideas of success into children’s heads, associating that gleaming, ‘Stanford’ versions of “success” align with happiness, limiting the endless opportunities that young minds should feel like they have. There’s so much pressure on finding an adequate passion, even more on finding one you can commit to. A large portion of my young life has been devoted to ensuring I am academically adept, or societally accepted, rather than listening to what I am really passionate about. I think on autopilot, the ominous shadow of my future weighing on me. Smart equals college. College equals job. Job equals money. Money equals happiness. That’s how myself, and so many others view the system. But as I grow, explore myself and world around me, I realize my pre-planned future is dulling in comparison to all that it has the potential to bring. Our population, in my experience, spends their energy promising themselves that they’ll obtain eventual joy, but through the lens of this mind set, fail to recognize what brings them joy in the present. For some, our westernized vision of success will bring happiness. Prestigious schools and nice cars, perhaps war and glory. However, for many others, it will not. It’s critical not to mute your own desires in favor of appeasing somebody else’s.
Narrow mindedness is toxic. The boundaries need to be pushed, catered to more than one future. Schools need to praise selfless futures, such as students eager to join the peace corps, or devote their lives to nonprofits and the service of others. A stronger appreciation for artistic minds, seeking a career and a life in expressing themselves through different medias of art. Our system needs to include innovative millennials with the creativity to start their own businesses, to change the world. The opportunities are endless and it’s damaging to promote just one, to overshadow the importance of the other positions. There should be equal amounts of support for alternate pathways, to be endorsed through creating unbiased lessons, speakers, and attitude. I urge schools to have volunteer organizations, such as AmeriCorps come in to advertise their pathways, rather than shedding light on solely ivy league schools and those gifted sports scholarships.
Encourage kids to not build up what they’ve been taught is the eventual pathways to success, rather than letting them experience the emotions and passions given to them now. As for me, I don’t quite know what I want, and that’s okay, nothing goes as planned so who needs blueprints.