Undefined by generational differences: own your personal evolution

Haleigh McGill

Haleigh McGill
Haleigh McGill

Entering college is like stepping up to the starting line of real life, and as each year comes and goes, the magnitude of this transition into the bigger world becomes clearer and clearer to the students who walk this campus.

The biggest, and possibly the most intimidating, part of this transition is trying to figure out where the skills that you have acquired, and the personal choices you have made, will fit into society, and what you, as an individual, can do to make some sort of impact. Revolving around this concept are a lot of questions, such as: Are my parents going to be proud of the person I choose to become? Are my peers, colleagues and friends going to be impressed when I talk about my life at my high school, or even college reunions? Will my family support what I choose to do? Am I going to make enough money and be truly successful? These questions are undoubtedly a lot to think about and they are important, but I think the question that we should be scrutinizing the most is, are the plans I’ve created for my future going to make me proud and are they going to make me happy?

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I have met a lot of people during the last three years I have spent at CSU who get completely caught up in what their parents want for them and what they hope their student will become, and in turn begin doing things a certain way and making specific choices with only their parents’ opinions in mind. While I believe that it is important to consider your family and take their values into account when embarking on this transition into real life, I think it is also vital that we consider all the generational differences and shifts that have occurred, from when our parents were our age up until today, that affect our lives both personally and in the workplace.

Senior writer and editor Laura Argintar for Elite Daily puts it very simply: “It’s OK to see things differently based on your own experiences. You’re old enough to disagree with your parents, but you’re still young enough to take their advice on things.”

It’s a fact that things change, so naturally we are dealing with and learning to adapt to a very different environment than our parents did when they were our age. A few notable generational changes include attitudes towards tattoos in the workplace, the increasing acceptance of the LGBTQ community, gender roles and equality in society and the integration of smart technology into our every day lives. One very clear implication of living in this different environment is that sometimes you, and only you, will have to decide what the right next move is for your life.

As L.P. Hartley states in the beginning of his 1953 novel The Go-Between, “the past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”

Inevitably, there are going to be peers, parents, friends, relatives and even strangers who tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t do something, big or small. But if you get that unmistakable feeling deep in your soul, that roar that just tells you “this is what you are meant to do,” don’t ignore it. Go ahead and choose your weapon – a paintbrush, a pen, a map, an instrument, a notebook full of fine-tuned calculations, a journal full of plans big and small, whatever it may be – and prove them wrong. Ignite your passions and go forth fearlessly, because this is your adventure and you get to choose which mountains you climb.  It’s true that sometimes you will find yourself climbing alone, but keep pressing on knowing that when you reach the top, you will stand proud.

Collegian Opinion Editor Haleigh McGill wishes you a year of good times and exciting opportunities. She can be reached at hmcgill@collegian.com, or on Twitter @HaleighMcGill.