Does Being Busy Really Make You Special?


As I get older, I notice more and more 20-somethings yearning for recognition, for acknowledgement that they are special for being a hardworking college kid who spreads himself too thin. When did this begin? When did people start feeling that by working during college, they were more driven than everyone else?

When I went to college, everyone worked while going to school. We all sacrificed sleep and social lives (sometimes) to intern and gain experience or to work and make some money. It wasn’t something that made someone special.

Whether it was extra cash for shopping, or enough to pay the bills, we were all hustling towards something, and not bothering to really talk about it. One has to assume that this new wave of “especially hardworking” college kids feel special for a reason. Maybe it is because they really are far from the new normal.

Are parents now continuing to support their children well into their twenties so that they don’t have to work during school (and then wondering why they move back home after college)? I know many people who received some monetary assistance from their parents, but a full ride? Really?

Full disclosure: I was fortunate enough to receive a small weekly allowance from my parents during my first two years of college. But if I needed wanted anything beyond that, I had to earn the money for it myself. And during my last two years of college, when I craved a social life, I took the only job I could get – being a part time teacher in one of America’s most dangerous neighborhoods, educating the most underprivileged children I’ve ever met – because it was the only school that would hire me without having a degree. But I still wasn’t bragging or blogging about it. Everyone I knew was sacrificing something to make money.

Don’t get me wrong; I truly believe one should feel proud of himself for being a go-getter, a driven and self-motivated hard worker. I just don’t understand when it became something worthy of bragging rights. The last I checked, part of being an adult is supporting oneself, in whatever way possible. We all do it.

Perhaps it is that that separates the immature from the actual adults, that realization, that understanding, that ability to exist without feeling like you deserve a medal. To work and be busy is just life.