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Adolescents too Pressured to Succeed

Graphic+done+by+Raina+Bailey
Graphic done by Raina Bailey

Graphic done by Raina Bailey

Graphic done by Raina Bailey


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It’s your graduation day. You have approximately 10 to 12 years to get your life in order, change the world, have a steady income, start a family and achieve optimum life satisfaction.

As life expectancy gradually increases each year, over one percent according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, it becomes even more frustrating to see this enormous amount of weight placed on people to be successful at a young age.

However, this stress is made more concentrated and severe due to the extremely small timespan we give people to be successful and, ironically, this stress is leading to even shorter lives.

At the age of 14, I saw Lorde win two Grammys; she was only two years older than me. I started feeling this immense pressure on me, like time was slipping out of my hands, and I have not been able to shake it since.

The American Psychological Association states that, after school work and responsibilities, teens are most stressed out about what they’ll do after college and high school. This is obvious, as it’s a basic human desire to do well in life and be happy.

According to a study conducted by Yale ,“those with more positive self-perceptions of aging lived 7.5 years longer than those with negative self-perceptions of aging.”

We often place value in age- (especially for women-), and how much you can achieve early on in life. We have high reverence for individuals like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs who all gained expansive wealth and success early on in life.

Yet, these people are a rarity. As a whole, we fail to realize the amount of people that didn’t succeed until much later in life.

Not only do we need to change the “acceptable” age at which we’re allowed to be successful, but also change what we consider successful. Not many people are expecting to become ultra rich and famous, but there are certain expectations that limit people.

Success today in our rapidly growing technology industry has been limited to work in STEM careers. More traditionally, doctors and lawyers are “foolproof” ways to have the ability to support yourself and/or a family.

We see this becoming more and more of an issue as the less regarded and “plan b” jobs and fields are struggling to stay alive. Mechanics, plumbers, technicians, etc. are necessary components to have a functioning society in which we live, and a good deal of them can be considered well paying jobs.

But sadly, due to the social implications and the way in which we view these workers, these extremely important fields are shrinking. An article published by Forbes Magazine stated, “the hardest segment of the workforce for employers to staff with skilled talent hasn’t been registered nurses or engineers or even web developers. It’s been the skilled trades.”

The pressures and ideals projected onto young people limit them, whether it’s in the time they have to achieve their goals, or what society thinks their goals should be in the first place, is hurting the generation entering the workforce.

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Adolescents too Pressured to Succeed