Being a youth comes with its own unique set of challenges. For one, it has become harder to answer the question, “who am I/meant to be?” or “what is my purpose?” These questions are often asked by youths trying to define their career paths and choices. This world to which we were born indeed offers many different options, and this, itself, is the problem. Adults and mentors are fond of saying, “you have your whole life in front of you and you can become anything”. Like the proverbial kid in the candy store, we are spoilt for choice and it is not surprising that there are increasingly more twenty-something-year-olds experiencing early life identity crises.
In my short life, I have, at different times, wanted to become an engineer, a business consultant, a chef, a model, a pageant, a finance expert, a TV broadcaster, a radio show host, a yoga instructor, an architect, an Instagram influencer, a YouTube content creator, a filmmaker, a photographer, voiceover artist and most recently a data scientist. I broached the subject with a mentor, and in an attempt to clear my confusion, she asked me, “What would you do with your life if money was not a problem?” This made an already bad situation worse because my answer to this was “anything and everything.” I still haven’t figured out what I really want to do with my life besides having enough money and a bit of fame.
The second hardest thing about being a Millennial or Gen Z is social media pressure. Peer pressure has been around for a while and is considered a normal part of the childhood to adulthood transition. In this era, however, it’s a different kettle of fish. A typical 20-something-year-old has an average of 500 friends/followers across all social media platforms combined, and a good number of these friends/ followers are people we will never meet in real life. Yet, these persons ‘behind the screen’ have a tremendous impact on our self-image and how we measure success; our willingness to put our lives on display, to edit parts of ourselves for validation and worthiness, to be cool and popular, to get the likes and approval ratings.
One of the hardest parts of being a young adult in this generation is that nothing we learn in school will prepare us for the real world. Our educational system seems to be playing catchup. Education is supposed to equip us with the tools to solve problems, instead, we get history lessons in ‘how the world used to work 101’ and by the time we graduate, the world has moved far ahead. It is worse for us in third world countries like Nigeria.
The fact that we will never experience job security is another cruel realization. Never mind that we have the highest number of youths with university degrees and masters to boot, no jobs are waiting for us to simply graduate and fill. Job hunting is currently the most harrowing experience of a young adult. The good thing about this is that we have had to create our own jobs and the average young adult is a founder, CEO of a company. Ask LinkedIn if you think I’m lying.
Well, since most of us don’t know what it was like to be born in the 19th century, we are not so scared. Guys, we don’t have a choice but to suck it up and live our best life, so I encourage every one of us to raise our imaginary glasses and say, “What a time to be alive!”
P-S: We secretly know that the hardest part of being a young adult is paying the bills. Haha
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