We are no longer number 1
In the world today, the United States is number 12 in terms of education and college graduates when compared to the rest of the world. Why is that? The answer in my opinion is in our own culture and how it impacts the next generation of young pre-teens and coming of age teenagers preparing to go to college.
I feel that the United States culture today promotes ignorance through pop culture, while deep and thoughtful thinking is often not a priority with the next generation. Today’s young teen mindset seems to focus so much on glamorizing “stars” like Kanye West, Drake, and Beyonce and others that they focus on what is popular jumping on Madison Avenue advertising bandwagon and media hype. This is an over simplified mindset that pop culture continuously shoves into their minds. This, at best, is a disaster: and at its worst a social breakdown.
I feel this is evident because the young mindset is too focused on whats best for them and not whats best for everyone—including themselves. This self-absorbed personality created through the influence of pop culture means that there is no such thing as caring for anyone else or helping your community: there is only me, myself, and I.
On the other side of the argument, people might say that we recognize that this is dangerous and that we are pursuing higher education to mediate this problem. But based on my experiences, as a senior and seeing many arguments between students and teachers, I can see that the generation, next in line after my generation, outright refuses to listen to authority or to try at all in any of their classes.
Also, the use of social media like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram etc, only puts more fuel in the fire. The use of social media creates an addiction in the young mind that they can’t go through their daily lives without at least picking up their smartphones to check social media posts during times of learning and hard work. My viewpoint is based on my observations as a teachers assistant and seeing so many students drop their work in favor of going on their smartphones.
I also feel that this generation of privileged young minds lacks the hardships that some underprivileged students experience growing up. Coming from this background, I understand the hardships faced by others, and I’m grateful they found success. Others, I feel, are too used to having life being spoon fed to them and never once having to go through the struggles that I and so many others have faced in our lives. Even though this might not be true for all students, it still appears that way in most classes I have observed.
This issue can easily be solved at home with the intervention of parents and/or guardians. Parents/guardians should teach their children the importance of focusing on education and continue to remind them of how important it is as they grow into young adults. While this can help remind flourishing young adults that their time should be focused on studying with some time reserved for being with friends and family, it is up to the students to listen and follow these instructions.
In conclusion, I feel that the growing influence of pop culture and the continued use of social media is impacting young minds and distracting them from the importance of an education. With the United States dropping down to number 12 in terms of education and college graduates in the world, I hope that the next generation will understand the importance of getting an education and influencing their communities in a positive way by attending class, focusing on work, and respecting their teachers. This is an important issue that should remain in the forefront receiving our full attention as we continue on this Sisyphean task of trying to fix it. I know we can do it.