Sunday, 4 March 2012

Pretty Vacant

It’s hard to sit in a classroom filled with young Irish people and not have to fight back the urge to slap each and every single one of them in the face.

As an outsider looking in it’s hard to determine if the vapid stares and shifting eye sets are out of embarrassment, fear or the early stages of Asperger’s syndrome. God help anyone who’s given the difficult task to actually speak to a group of 18-25 year olds these days as unintelligible grunts, chair shuffling and sparse eye contact are the only social cues that are offered with any degree of vigour.

There are two problems with young people today. Social “awkwardness” and a sense of entitlement have spoiled young people and with the introduction of college into their lives it imbues them with an air of arrogance, indifference and gleans them of a desire to work hard.
The advancement in social media has made people lazy in body and in mind and has sharply cut down most forms of personal and intimate communication. The inventions of the Facebook status and the tweet have lured young people into the false realisation that every single thought that comes into their head is so original and thought provoking that it must be shared with the world. #I-couldn’t-care-less-tbh
We’ve sadly been cursed with the inheritance of despondency and hubris. We’re too important to talk to people face to face so even such a basic human social more as intimate conversation is done lazily and often drunkenly over the internet.

I was once told of a Transition Year student who was on work experience in a Limerick newspaper who refused to ring people up for stories when asked by the editor. Her rationale as why this would not be an appropriate thing for her to do was because she “didn’t like calling people up on the phone. It’s awkward.’’

Life for these young students is never filled with difficult questions because difficult questions are never asked of them. Why question what type of person you are or what desires you have for the future when you can just as easily get into bed and look up “Five Reasons Why Anti-conformity Is Worse Than Conformity” on We’re the generation that see the reached word count as the end of an essay and we know more X Factor contestants than politicians and presidents. This level of lethargy probably shouldn’t shock you.

We’re the generation that expects everything to be handed to us because that’s the only way we know how to live. The Celtic Tiger gave us a false feeling of importance and discretionary items. The recession has now made us indifferent to struggle and penny pinching because we don’t see it as our problem.

Passion and enthusiasm in students have waned dramatically in recent years. There was a time when going to college was only for the intelligent and the diligent. Now it’s the case that anyone has the opportunity to secure a degree of some sort, making the function of college an almost redundant idea for most people. We sleep our way through our lectures (occasionally gawping at our Facebook pages in the computer labs) and scrape a pass. Then what happens? We’re congratulated for it because our parents have no idea how little work we’ve put in and how unchallenging it is. We’re left gormless and empty by this circle jerk spiral and as a result find ourselves with a lack of passion and enthusiasm for anything that can’t be found at the end of a shot glass.

Ever since we were young we were told that we could be anything that we want to be. Sooner rather than later the harsh realisation is going to smack us all in the face. No, we’re not all going to be celebrities. We aren’t going to marry actors and models. We won’t be financially secure and we will have to work hard to keep our heads above water.

But that’s not something to be disappointed or angry over. You may not get that TV show or radio slot that you wanted but the world needs a lot more janitors and petrol attendants so there will always be work for us somewhere.
I’m not writing this from a certain standpoint nor am I trying to mark out people who are the same age as me as unintelligent or oxygen thieves. I’ve never had a job because I never wanted one. I, too, am a coward who’s been spoon fed all my life and find social interactions “totes awks LOL xxx.’’

All I can do is ask myself the question, “Am I special?” Am I talented and useful and intelligent and someone who’s going to make a dramatic change to the world?
Just like the rest of this generation, the answer is no. No, I’m probably not.¬¬¬

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