Current generation juggles responsiblities, yet receives scrutiny


Julia Labban, News Editor

As junior Roxanne Parman searches for colleges and scholarships, she is continuously baffled by how much she might have to pay or how many credentials are needed to even be admitted. This is often the case with many high school students and other youth, who argue that being a teenager now is exponentially more difficult than it was when their parents were in high school. In fact, most teens reported their stress level was 5.8 on 10-point scale, compared with 5.1 for adults in a survey conducted by Stress in America.

Despite this commonly felt stress among teens, many adults disagree with this claim. They believe that life was harder for them growing up, even going as far as to ridicule the current youth, calling them lazy, shallow or unintelligent.

Parman thinks that older generations criticize current youth due to their lack of understanding and misinterpretation of different kinds of hard work.

“They don’t understand,” Parman said. “Since they’re so far behind, they feel out of the loop and that’s why they make fun of younger generations. Of course technology has made things a lot easier so we don’t have to do the [same] labor that previous generations have had to do.”

Junior Mark Landry attributes technological progress as one source of this generational ridicule.

“They don’t realize things can change,” Landry said. “They get confused because things get easier as technology increases, so they see us as lazier because our lives are easier as a result of advancement. “[They also think we’re shallow] because we do things like take selfies and post them on social media and say that we’re ugly. They think we’re self absorbed because of social media. They think that since we have the internet, we can look up whatever we want and don’t have to have ‘real knowledge’ like them.”

Landry also believes that the underestimation of youth is just a natural occurrence due to constant changes in culture.

“[We’re underestimated] just naturally,” Landry said. “There’s no difference in any generation, it’s just whoever is growing up in that time. There aren’t different people all of a sudden.”

Parman says that current youth are underestimated and should be appreciated for what they’ve done for society.

“Obviously [we’re underestimated] because we have all of these new things that we’ve had to learn and that we’re still working on today that help progress society,” Parman said.

English teacher Ms. Erin Burke thinks that being a teenager today is harder than it used to be and that she would not like to be in the current generation’s shoes.

“I would say it’s harder now,” Ms. Burke said. “You could not pay me enough to navigate the world as a 16-year-old today.”

Landry believes that it was easier to be admitted into colleges in previous years but recognizes the increase in opportunity that youth have.

“It was easier back then to get into college, but now we have more opportunity,” Landry said. “My parents weren’t even supposed to go to college, none of their brothers or sisters went to college. It’s just different now.”

Parman sees the college situation differently due to the increased standards and costs for teenagers.

“It’s harder because the standard for teenagers just keeps going up and up throughout generations,” Parman said. “ [Also] college is really expensive.”

Although most teachers haven’t been through the same situations as current teenagers, Ms. Burke believes that they don’t participate in youth ridicule.

“As teachers, we dedicate our lives to enriching the lives of our students,” Ms. Burke said. “Let’s not blame the teachers.”

Landry disagrees and thinks that the presence of ridicule just depends on what kind of person the teacher is.

“Some of them [judge teenagers,]” Landry said. “Teachers are people too, so some of them are judgemental and some are respectful and realize that we’re the same as us.”

Parman says teachers sometimes ridicule students on generational topics, such as technology.

“Some of them do but others don’t,” Parman said. “Some teachers are always saying  ‘you’re never allowed to be on your phone, you’re never allowed to use it as a resource for learning.’”

Parman also thinks that this criticism is something every generation faces.

“It’s just one big cycle because nothing is ever the same from generation to generation,” Parman said.

When it comes to the next cycle of ridicule, Landry sees a humorous but probable future.

“[We’ll say] ‘those darn kids with their hologram devices and their virtual reality simulators,’” Landry said.

Ms. Burke believes that current youth will judge generations to come and that she’s already seen inklings of the practice.

“They already do it,” Ms. Burke said. “Juniors and seniors are quick to criticize the freshmen. It’s human nature. There are always aspects of youth culture that the older generations simply don’t understand. It’s a perpetual cycle.”