I have recently had the privilege of meeting some pretty inspiring and driven young people. Generally, I think young people get a bad reputation. Our generation has been deemed social media obsessed and spoilt for choice in the consumer driven society we live in. There are many young people who are studying, working and squeezing in hobbies, social lives and sleep. University fees are ridiculous and student finance is a mess. What a time to be young…
One observation I have made during my placement year is that a majority of the young people I have worked with, have worked for no money. They had taken on projects that are demanding and time consuming solely because they saw it as an opportunity. They saw beyond the lack of pay and saw it as a chance to add to their portfolio and to perhaps make a difference. Although I must say it is a shame that young people’s enthusiasm isn’t always enough for them to get paid – or at least having their expenses paid.
On the other hand, I have to say that I have also been experiencing some youngsters who aren’t taking up opportunities that have the potential to be real game changers. Or they are taking up opportunities half-heartedly – which I think could actually be more harmful that beneficial. As you grow up, your life starts in a bubble. You have your circle of friends, your routine and a list of fun stuff you like to do at the weekend after you have finished your homework. But when you enter the real world, there is no room for such egocentricity and you have to start thinking about the dreaded phrase…. “the world of work”.
More and more people are going into further education and getting degrees. There are degrees that are churning out more graduates than there are jobs. That’s pretty scary. There are also many students and young people who aren’t pushing themselves to take opportunities that could really put them ahead. This includes work experience, putting extra effort into assignments and going beyond what is expected of you.
I guess this is just a little word of advice. Even if you’re not sure exactly what job you want to do, take up opportunities. Over my placement year I have been thrown out of my comfort zone numerous time, which has been pretty terrifying but my goodness am I grateful for it! You are likely to face some stereotypes about young people – how we don’t care about anything other than “selfies” and that we’re obsessed with the internet. But I am calling on you to help me prove them wrong.
Besides, one of the biggest lessons I have learnt this year is that everyone is winging it – no one really knows what they’re doing. You just need bags of enthusiasm, the ability to get stuff done and a good sense of humour.