A refreshing perspective in the article "Quietly Quitting the College Admissions Race" from author Brennan Barnard, "...I am not suggesting that young people disengage and passively refuse to go above and beyond. I am saying that learning to set boundaries early is a life skill that will serve them well on all fronts. Instead of packing schedules with a litany of “should dos,” students might consider what they really want to do–what fills and inspires them–and lean into those pursuits in moderation and purpose, not mania and pressure."
I recently started working with an inspiring, articulate, athletic, academically and service-oriented sophomore who already seemed to be subscribing to this mentality, very intentionally setting boundaries and prioritizing time for himself to rest, rejuvenate and relax. He talked a lot about it being important for him to incorporate these moments every day, whether it be taking a short nap, playing with his dog, going for an early morning surf or scrolling through social media. He doesn't seem stressed, but he is directed and contemplative, as well as being a straight A student, playing two sports, tutoring other students and increasing his engagement in new ways in his school and community.
In my experience with adolescents, this is not the norm. The most frequent comments I hear are about wishing they had more free time, less demands, more of doing what they want to do instead of what their parents, teachers, coaches or others think they need to be doing. It's not that they really want to lounge, play video games, and hang out with friends all day long, but they do desire to feel more in control of their lives and future.
The recent data from a Harvard-led study examining many indicators of life satisfaction and well-being found that young adults, age 18-25 report the lowest rates of satisfaction. This has not been historically true, our teens' lives, the expectations of them, and the pressure they place on themselves has changed over the last 20 years.
As a parent, it is a fine line between encouraging, nudging, providing opportunity and pushing too far. Every child is different, every situation is different, but as adults, if many of us in society have decided to #quietlyquit the madness or at least prioritize stepping back a bit and caring for ourselves, then let's empower our youth to do the same.
#collegeadvisor #collegecounselor #redowork #teenmentalhealth