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Despair of 20s: whose fault is it?

2012/03/03 | 348 views |  | Permalink | Source

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By Cha Min-kyeong

Recently, I read a book called "It's Youth Because It's Painful". The author, professor Kim Ran-do of Seoul National University, gave a lot of advice to people in their 20s.

He is seriously concerned about the laziness of young people and their financial difficulties, and tells them to challenge themselves to get what they want to achieve.

As a teen who will become 20 soon, I question who is responsible for the poor situation the 20s undergo these days that I see in various media.

Who is responsible for their hopelessness? Is it their fault or society's? To me, it seems like society is more liable.

First, there are not enough jobs for people in their 20s. Upon entering university, they must start preparing for job interviews. They do a lot of things like internships, volunteering, getting licenses and so on to build experience. But there are too many people competing for job interviews.

Also, 40- and 50 year-olds will not give up work, so there are fewer jobs available for younger people. Competition increases and many fail to establish a career. They unwillingly earn their living by doing part-time jobs, but it's too little to making a living. The lack of satisfactory work makes them struggle in despair. It's society's responsibility to provide work.

Secondly, many of these young people are insufficiently educated. Companies in the 21st century need creative and cooperative minds. Many companies seek unique but sociable people. However our curriculum doesn't teach us how to think creatively and have good relationships with others. Our educational system only injects knowledge into our brains.

We are trained to memorize specific knowledge and get a good score on the test. Those in their 20s, who have been taught only to prepare for exams, don't have an ingenious mind or social skills. They can't get a chance to work because they don't think uniquely. Improper curricula make young people desperate.

Lastly, even families prevent young adults from following their dreams. Parents of those in their 20s grew up in a period when Korea started to develop and when economic success was their road to happiness. These parents prefer so-called "stable careers" such as lawyers, doctors or government officials. They pressure their children to get these kinds of jobs.

The 20-somethings do what their parents want because they grew up under their protection. They hesitate to take different jobs so many young people study for the bar or national civil service exams. The older generation seems to believe that stable jobs are the best. As a result, these posts become highly competitive and hard to grab. Our society is responsible for this stable job-preferring atmosphere.

The poverty and unemployment of the young is partially their own fault. To get a career, they should challenge themselves and obtain what they want. They have to stop struggling to find a stable job. They have to seek out what they really want to do, and try to "own their job". They're not children anymore ― they should find their own life. But realistically speaking, taking a challenge is hard and society has to provide a good environment for them to challenge.

Into my 20s and applying for universities, I'm worried about my future. I'm afraid to challenge because I have to earn money. Many students have the same worries.

We worry and fall into despair because of our society. We find it hard to get a job because there are not enough, and young people are educated to be standardized ― they can't have creative minds. Also, the social atmosphere induces young adults to get only stable jobs ― not try new, challenging ones.

Our social atmosphere has to change ― we need to educate young people creatively, and the older generation's perception about jobs must also change. Society should teach students to be original and cooperative. And it should make a challengeable, open and innovative atmosphere.

The young should also try to break the stereotype built into our society. They should travel their own path and try new things. I wish many young people will get hope and accomplish what they want. I believe our younger generation can do it and, as a to-be adult, I believe I can do it too.

The writer is a second-year student at Kangwon Science High School.

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