I was privileged to receive some insight into the mind of young people last week. I have since had time to really think about and consider how many of us may categorize them. This insight is the fact that young people today have access to every bit of knowledge in the known world. From microscopic organisms to the known limits of an infinite universe. If asked what their opinion is, many will freely offer it. Otherwise, they will remain silent. Many of us think that because kids are practically born with an iPad or cell phone in their hand that they are adept in its use and function and very focused on what they want to do with the rest of their life.
The other insight I was given was evidence of the exact opposite. Most of the youth coming into our classes now days are desperate for direction, focus, guidance, and mentorship. There is so much to know, so much one can know, that it is literally overwhelming. It’s almost expected that today’s young people will instantly be able to do research on any given topic, produce beautiful and creative power points, twitter, facebook, etc. It really is a lot of pressure and doesn’t help them find their way through the vast array of career opportunities available. What we as advisors and instructors should take steps to do is provide these young people with information, guidance, and suggestions on how and where to explore possible career interests for each of them. Many already do this, particularly in specific skilled programs where students have pretty much decided what they want to do. For those in the general education fields, however, there are many students still wandering and wondering what they want to do, what they can do, and how do they even begin to discover their interests. I think we could all use a little more empathy towards our students, especially with the holidays coming up, end of the semester rapidly approaching, winter on its way, shopping, family, dinners, and parties, and on and on. Take time to help someone discover their future.