More Competitive world Has Led to 'most stressed out generation'

Riley Schwengel


I recently came across an article on The Huffington Post that shared some interesting facts about the up and coming Millennial Generation, the name for the generation currently in college and high school. According to a study from the American Psychology Association, “Half of all millennials are so stressed out that they can’t sleep at night, and 39 percent of millennials have stress levels that have increased in the past year.” As I finished reading these alarming numbers, I sat back in my chair and thought, “That actually makes a lot of sense.”

The world we grew up in is remarkably different than the one our parents and grandparents did. Ours is a fast-paced world filled with technology, communication and higher expectations for its residents. Colleges are becoming harder to get into and businesses are expressing higher and higher standards for applicants, and this increasingly competitive environment has begun to stress out young adults. We have more responsibilities at younger ages and must leap higher to accomplish what is expected.

Starting in the first year of high school, we are told we must start building up our resume and keep our grades up so we can get into a good college. I can’t remember how many times I was signed up for some new activity or project and was told that it would “look great to prospective colleges.” Everything we did had a consequence to it. The stakes were raised and every exam felt like it would determine our future.

The amount of stress that we are subjugated to on a regular basis today is unhealthy and is beginning to have negative consequences, as evident in the aforementioned study. I think the problem lies with the many institutions that set the requirements and expectations for the average person, like schools and businesses. As our scientific knowledge grows and technology becomes more advanced, these institutions believe that humans should be getting smarter and more productive along with them, but that is unfair to assume.

We are no different than our parents, yet it seems that for their generation it was much easier to get into good schools and acquire a profession; all it took was hard work. Nowadays, one is expected to have perfect grades and do community service equal to that of Mother Teresa in order to even be considered for medical or graduate school.

I think it’s about time that the many organizations that control our future realize that their expectations need to be more reasonable. Humans are not computers nor machines who can be judged and ranked by their ability to recite numbers and memorize facts and figures. We are imperfect and always will be.

Instead, we should be judged by our dedication, attitude, creativity and persistence. If more human standards and requirements are placed before us as we grow, then a less stressed and healthy generation will be created and only then will we get the better doctors, lawyers, businessmen and scientists that we are looking for.

For more information on this topic, go to the article on titled, “Teens And Stress: Millennials, Experts Talk ‘Most Stressed Generation’ On HuffPost Live.”

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