The end of yet another corona-laden academic year nears. But there’s more to Gen Z than just a middle part. So many of us are faced with jarring uncertainties. Being dauntless in the face of such ambivalence is hard. However, processing this change is something that we must make peace with. Even if it is with apprehension.
The biggest scam marking our first step into adulthood or the ‘real world’ is the predetermined nature of life. The social timeline is an incentive to perform better than others at school. And the funny illusion of this journey is that successfully reaching the end marks one having achieved to finally exercise free will. Sooner or later, one realises the fallacy in this. The milestones in this journey demand perfection, falling short by an inch or a mile doesn’t matter; it is only a reminder of one’s shortcomings. Or even after we achieved them, it did not make much of a difference.
Increasingly, the shimmer attached to colleges (best example: DU admission season) is on a rise. The subsequent disappointment that a majority (as prestigious places are few and exclusive) feel crushes their spirit. Why is Gen Z depressed? The saddest generation: why is Gen Z most anxious? Gen Z is stressed, depressed and exam-obsessed. Of course, the problem is multifaceted and demands structural changes in politics, laws, mental health, minority rights and much more. But as the last title points out, education and similar factors as a competition are a huge contributor.
As a final-semester student, people all around engulf themselves in the frantic search for the best profile/company/package/CAT score/university/course and so on. But this isn’t a conversation about the rat race (which would end in a debate between utopia vs challenging the system). It is about taking the time to reach where one wishes to be. The mere thought of not knowing is like falling ‘behind’, some sort of shame of studying with one’s ‘juniors’. Not having security in hand is representative of one having wasted time in their undergrad.
The growing existential dread, worsening mental health, disillusionment from structures and institutions. This is a result of pushing someone to their breaking point. But our generation isn’t “sensitive” (referring to the negative connotations attached to the term and not what it actually means). It is the most self-aware. A growing percentage of people have chances of going to therapy. Greater statistics represent how it’s the one to be the most educated, diverse, and critical of governments over individuals. This generation also attaches societal change with positive connotations than defiance.
We are transitioning to other places in the midst of several crises. We are put in the most uncertain future. So while social timelines are a scam we are condition ourselves to, we are already doing our best to question it all. Whether you hustle or thrive, whether you fail at times, or even if you just manage to stay afloat; however, you spend this second hit of this pandemic is one’s individual journey. The contexts behind our lives may fade to others, but it’s important to define our own paths, choices, ideas of ‘success’. Indisputably, it is a hard battle to win, but the immense unrest and unhappiness we feel is a pre-cry to change. The only answer to accepting oneself and the precariousness of the world is by taking baby steps towards that change.
Image Credits: Penn Medicine