High school is the point in time where students are being pulled in a hundred different directions. Our interests aren’t clear enough, even to us, to know what we want to do with our futures, and that phrase “Oh, you have plenty of time to figure it out” is not working anymore. We have no more time. We do not have time to try everything, to learn about everything we want to learn, to figure out what the heck we want to try to do for the rest of our lives. Personally, I do not know if I have an interest in engineering or computer programming, because I have spent my life in the arts, in acting and drawing and writing, and I have had no time to mix those with other extracurriculars. I do not know if I could have grown into a sport, because I was too concerned with using this preparation time wisely to “waste time” in something I might not excel at.
Allow me to reiterate. I didn’t want to venture into the world of athletics or the sciences for fear that I would not have been gifted enough to call that time useful in the end. I was too concerned with using this time of exploration intelligently to risk exploring “incorrectly”.
As a teenager in a great school district, I am expected to balance my studies with a job, extracurriculars, volunteering events, friends, and family, and I am expected not to fail. I have all the opportunities to succeed, and none of the hindrances of poor education or health or finances. I must have fun, because there are so many activities to do so. I must get good grades, because I have all the time to do so. I must contribute to the community, because I have a great community in which to do so. I must succeed, because I have no excuse not to.
We have created a world for ourselves where we cannot fail. And in a world where failure is banned, discovery is just too much to risk. Do not discover what you are best at. Discover what you’ a good at and stick to it. That is the mindset we have developed. Just go the safe route.
Here is the problem with that. And I mean the problem besides requiring perfection from people who are supposed to be experimenting. If we are supposed to be encouraging progress from today’s students then it is wrong teach them to take the path in front of their feet. It is because we have resources others do not that we should be trying to do more than what’s safe. If those who have the resources to do more do not, then what was the point? I would be surprised if the majority of people going into a medical field were doing so because they had a passion for it. I would be downright shocked if half the people going into a business field had a passion for it. Passion is what makes greatness, but apparently we are not interested in achieving greatness anymore. We are far more concerned with being good at something that’ll keep us secure.
If we truly have more opportunities and better resources, we have a duty to use them. Anything less is what’s truly unacceptable. Those in the lower class are fighting to get out, those without opportunity are fighting to get it, and because we already have a comfortable living space we settle? We have no right to fight any less than they are. They don’t play it safe; we have no right to do so. Safety is for insects preoccupied with survival. Danger is what makes change and shapes the world.