When we tell our older relatives that we are stressed out about an upcoming test, their reaction is overwhelmingly similar; they’d say something along the lines of: “Do the best you can.” I really don’t believe they quite understand how things have changed since they were in college. If the best we can do is a B, that will literally take us nowhere. The bar has been raised so high up, that it’s getting harder and harder to see.
Consequently, our generation is built on competition. The higher the number attached to your name, the better chances to succeed you have. I could be a decent student and have a 3.4 GPA*, but that’d just mean that anyone whose GPA is above 3.4 has better chances than me to get into a good graduate program, or a top-tier law school. In fact, some graduate schools will not even consider your application if you don’t have a 3.5 or above. Basically, every mistake we make can hurt us in a world in which to be the best, you have to be absolutely flawless. Thanks to this, college went from being the place where you tried different things to figure out who you were and who you wanted to be, to being the place where you played it safe and conformed to what would give you the best score you could get.
But what does this say about the generational gap? I’ll bet half of the people sitting in any admissions table in a top university never had more than a 3.2 GPA. But then, how did they get to raise the bar for us, who have yet to influence the way the world works now? I’d say some bad decisions were made and we’re stuck with less jobs, more problems, and cleaning up someone else’s mess. I’ve always heard the 80’s and 90’s were a lot fun- Well, I don’t doubt it.
*Not my actual GPA. Thankfully.