It’s that time of year when optimism and enthusiasm is abounding among our youth. Hundreds of youngsters in our community are preparing for a major step in their lives. High school graduates are embarking on the next steps of their respective journeys.
Some will head overseas to colleges and universities; others will embrace educational opportunities at our tertiary institutions at home. There are also others whose futures are murky with uncertainty. College acceptance letters did not come in the mail, or these communications were delivered but the financial reality is that it blocks the pathway to head off to pursue higher education.
For those who are heading off, it’s not just the joy of the opportunity but there are legitimate fears about whether they can handle the pressure and succeed. Those heading into the workplace will be excited to enter the “real world” and will realise the burdens of this life. Others will sit at home wondering what is next.
Lives are at crossroads for our young people. They are promised that the world is theirs, yet youth unemployment outpaces other sectors of the population. Workers are expected to stay on the job later in their lives, thereby limiting the opportunities for those entering the job market.
However, this is not all doom and gloom. It is the nature of life that some of us will be more successful than others. As parents and members of the community, we need to constantly remind the youth that where they are now or the obstacles they face are not the end of the road. Many successful entrepreneurs never set foot inside a lecture hall or dropped out of tertiary education.
The reality is that the world can be a harsh place and as a society it is not our jobs to shield the youth from this but to help make it easier for them to succeed and to provide the necessary support. In the meantime, we need to teach them that the struggles they face now can make them more battle tested to survive in the world of business.