“Are Today’s Youth Really a Lost Generation?” Derek Thompson asked this question in 2011 on one of the biggest international media platforms, the Atlantic. The question, as a millennial, was as ironic as it was alarming. The aims and ambitions instilled in the youth did not allow for aims lower than the absolute goals, with the pressure of being on the forefront of competition ever present.
My generation, evolving alongside the digital media and the market crashes, was the first one to face the consequences of the economic decisions of the 90s and the first market crashes of the twenty-first century. As the digital media evolved, so did the job market. The educational landscape, however, remained stubbornly constant. Doctor, Engineer, Lawyer, or a civil servant was the socially acceptable, convoluted multiple choice question that posed as the career aptitude test. Much of it is still unchanged.
As the market demands variety from us, the traditionalists in the education sector remain stagnant. Interdisciplinary studies are rare and have little to no experienced faculty supervising the research. Ironically, these are the very fields which have the most value with respect to future growth and international employability. Yes, today’s youth is really a lost generation. The parents put their hopes on young shoulders with little to no advice on how to cope with the trials of practical life and the market looks for skills that are not taught in conventional educational environment. The youth are directionless, they are distraught. The faculty that teaches them practical skills have not been a part of practical workforce for years. The faculty that actively may be a part of the workforce cannot effectively connect with the youth and balance their academic relations successfully. The effective and successful exceptions are usually the students who have a successful and practical mentoring relation with one or more of the faculty member or have a mentor in their family/ friends’ circle.
Mentorship breaks the barriers of informality and teaches the young ones how exactly to counter real world problems without getting tangled up in either the responsibility of the student towards the family or the nuances of the subject matter the mentor specializes in. Mentoring a student is the most effective way of breaking the barriers the student may have built for themselves and building a future that benefits the interests of the students as well as the practical interests of the market perfectly. Mentors can guide students, they can enhance their social skills and can guide the student through acquiring the necessary traits for their chosen field. Mentors do not only teach their mentees how to gain knowledge, they teach their mentees how to contribute to the knowledge being dispersed.
This visual genius and the trailblazer in his field has been a mentor to many newcomers himself. We, at Chipkoo, agree with him completely in his following sentiments: “The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” — Steven Spielberg