Generation of apathy: Teens lack motivation to succeed

LeighAnn Netka

If you scroll through the average teen’s twitter feed, you’re sure to find at least one tweet along the lines of  “omg kms”. I can confidently say that my generation is definitely one the most apathetic generations if not the most.

Being self-centered is a stage most teens go through, but it’s at an all time high with our generation. If something doesn’t have to do with themselves or their friends, they have no interest in it. Instead of it being a right of passage, it’s become the norm. Even though our generation does seem to be involved politically and environmentally, the motives aren’t as pure as they seem, a lot of people join organizations only for the recognition and not for the improvement of the world.

Many teens are used to getting handed everything they have ever wanted and receiving the instant gratification that comes with it. Teens don’t really see the point in doing something if they don’t see the effects instantly. Because of this, there’s been sort of a trickle down effect of procrastination and less ambitions. In the same sense, that’s why there has been an increase of drug use. It’s a temporary fix and the escape from reality. Rather than facing the trials and tribulations of life, they’d rather ignore it.

I can’t help but notice that teens have been conditioned to this behavior. Our whole life, we haven’t been significantly pushed to do things on our own. Even if we were, our parents would still be there to clean up the mess or cheer us on. We’ve been taught since we were young that we’re all special and all deserve recognition and praise whether or not we are the best, and aren’t held accountable for our shortcomings. For instance, when a student joins a Little League team everyone is given a trophy for participation, not achievement, so that idea that “we’re all a winner” is imbedded from a very young age.

Along with the way some teens have been raised, I feel that the instability of the country’s economy has also left a sense of hopelessness among my generation. What would be the point of working towards a future if there’s not going to be a successful one when you get there? Somewhere along the way we lost sight of the bigger picture.

Something that could help guide young people in the right direction is by setting goals. No one knows what the future holds but planning things out and having a direction gives students something to aim for. Without purpose or direction, students have nowhere to go but down, which results in poverty, or worse – jail time. Waking up being bars would be a loud wake-up call.

That choice is self-motivated, but there is another option. It’s an option we don’t like to think about, one that is imposed on us rather than by us. If a student has always been in a situation where someone else has been responsible for them and fixed their mistakes, losing that person is earth shattering .These factors are within our control, but only if we are proactive instead of reactive.

So how can we change an entire generation? Although there’s not one perfect solution to the problem there are simple things that can dramatically change a person’s life. Taking charge of your own life can make all the difference. Before learning how to fly, they have to spread their wings. If students never take responsibility for their actions, they can’t ever expect to be independent. Something has to change, and I’m afraid that if we don’t make these changes in our lifestyles that it could have lasting effects on generations to come.