When parents talk about their school and university days, starting with the line, “In my day, we would work ourselves in to the ground….”, most kids start to tune their words out. Generally, elders are of the view that before all the technology and gadgets, life was simply about working and getting to the top. Many a time, my own parents have talked to me about the fact that we, the current generation, simply don’t put in the same amount of effort in to our work as they did in their time.
I’ve often thought about what they’ve said and I can be certain that I’m not alone in my thinking process. Is our generation less hard working than the one before us? Has the advent of technology really slowed down our progress? Is life easier today for kids growing up than it was 25 or so years ago? It may seem that way to a lot of people but the facts paint a different picture.
Getting in to university is no easy task today. Students are now required to show themselves off as “all-rounders” to universities meaning that they have to focus more on sports and co-curricular activities in addition to their education than they would’ve been required to do years ago. A lot of top tier universities and colleges in America such as MIT, NYU and UPenn among others have policies whereby they consider each student based on his or her overall application rather than just grades.
The acceptance rates of a lot of well-recognised universities have dropped drastically over the past decade with Harvard hitting a record low this year, of 5.3%. This may not seem that poor considering the reputation of Harvard but it is still far lower than their acceptance rate from 1969, which was 20%.
Their low acceptance rate is attributed to the rise in effort put in by students to be considered for the Ivy school, making it harder for Harvard to choose from the applicants. Education has become a lot more competitive nowadays, disproving the common notion among the public over the amount of work put in by students. However, getting in to a good college isn’t the only hurdle that current and future generations face.
Before students can even begin to focus on a good career for themselves, they have to worry about college debt. In this modern day and age, debt is one of the greatest concerns for students worldwide. This is due to the fact that the average tuition fees for colleges today have risen quite significantly from years ago. For example, college fees in America have increased by a whopping 400% since 1982.
For graduates though, the debt can only be paid back once they get a job, which is far harder today than was before. A report back in 2013 from the UK based company High Fliers Research Limited revealed that the job market that year was one of the most competitive it had ever been.
Over the past few years, companies have generally started to raise their expectations of candidates, requiring more from them. They no longer look only at which university a student has graduated from, but also the versatility of that student.
However, despite the problems that the current generation faces in its work life, it also has a lot of incentive to do hard work. This was proved by a recent survey that found that in the years between 1980 and 2014, college admissions worldwide had risen from 26% to over 40%, an incredibly large number. This indicates that a lot more students have flocked to colleges in the past few years in comparison with the past so that they can get a chance to secure jobs.
The facts clearly prove that students today do not think of their jobs solely as a means of income, but actually hold them in a much higher regard. All the statistics stacked against the opinions of the public also serve to highlight the argument that students today are far more hardworking and career driven than previous generations.
From the hardships we face, resulting in an increase in stress levels to the drive present in us for progress, I strongly believe now that this generation of students is proving its place in history, day by day, amongst its forefathers.
Written by Talha A. Khawaja