Living as a teenager in 2019, it seems every book, magazine, movie, speech, advertisement, post, and tweet contains this word. Every header, monumental speech, Oscar-nomination, documentary, and biography all summarize into one acute phrase used way too often in society: “I found my passion.” When entering school, students are berated by teachers and faculty lecturing them on the importance of finding the perfect place in society.
I have been the receiving end of countless advice, encouragement and arguments about this topic, only to feel isolated and alone when it’s done. I have been the foil to many other successful students who have seemingly assimilated into society without hesitation. When taking difficult classes that require motivation to strive through them, the only motivation I have is the letter on the report card and nothing else. I don’t know what I want to be when I reach college yet, but society tells us you should already know the moment you receive the diploma.
People all over the world are affected by this epidemic, especially the growing teenage population in America. The goal? Find what you love, do it forever, and always be happy. Many students embark on this journey when they grow up, trying the chess club or doing a sport they like to watch on TV. For many teenagers, however, the journey is an inextricable circle of shame, embarrassment, and struggle. To be clear, the idea of “passion” as explained by society is finding the one job or career that suits the individual. If you constantly search for this one career, how much stress and pressure are you putting on yourself?
When it comes to parenting, it is important to not narrow their horizons into one career or company. Let the child attempt and occasionally fail in search of the future. However, you are breaking the number one rule if you let your child sit and wait for opportunity to come: it requires exploring. At 16, I am certain that in the future I would like to help other people. Maybe that’s not a career, but it’s a backbone into what I should explore. Doctor? Personal Trainer? Teacher? The world is my oyster. But if I spent my entire high school life finding what career I was supposed to do in the future, I would not have had the experience of exploring my needs and preferences for the journey beyond.