Young people are not lazy

I’m Mike Smith, a fifteen year old student currently living in North London. I believe that as a young person, we should make the most of the time we have in order to fulfil our dreams and hopes in the future. The word ‘teenager’ often gets thrown around, which for some immediately sparks a negative image. I would like to explain why this is simply not true.

Firstly, I would like to begin with the point that in all parts of society, there are people who will be unwilling to work. This is true for teenagers; this is true for young adults, and even those people who are halfway through their lives. This aspect of laziness does not exist only in young people; it also spreads to all of our society and therefore we cannot just accuse one particular group of being lazy. We all affect each other, and it could quite possibly be that the minority of young people who are lazy are lazy simply because they see other people being lazy, and then believe that that is the way they should behave. However, this is only the small minority.

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In many cases, young people including students like me already realise the importance of education. We already understand that this point in our lives could make life-changing events happen and also affect our future. Many of us are already taking action by studying hard, doing extra work and research in order to further our education and stay ahead. However, that doesn’t mean that just because work is important that we should always work non-stop. In order to work effectively, we need to be able to manage our ‘work life’, as well as our ‘actual life’ and balance the two correctly. In fact, working for long hours can be counterproductive for some; research from Cambridge University stated that when a group of people were given an assignment to finish, the people who spent a more reasonable amount of time on it rather than spending long hours doing it often performed better.

One aspect of ‘laziness’ commonly associated with young people is that young people are seen to be playing video games or using the internet in the spare time. I would like to say that firstly, without the internet, the majority of our work set at school simply cannot be done. The internet is a vast resource, and many students take advantage of the diverse information available online in order to help them with their work. A survey done by Oxford University found that over 80% of students used the internet mainly for work purposes, and very little time spent on social networking sites or media content sites.

Work from school, as well as extra work from outside of school for many young people are already limiting the amount of free time young people can have to actually enjoy their life, and so many of us resort to using the internet in our spare time, or playing video games as a form of relaxing, simply because it is easy to get out of it and back into work again. Young people are also sometimes seen as unwilling to go out; this may be true but the cause of this is due to extreme pressure to complete work and study for exams, up to the point that the only form of free time we have is often a few minutes on the internet or playing one match on a video game rather than going out to play sport, which may be too time consuming.

Schools and parents both also pressure young people to reach for top grades, expecting them to be able to succeed. This sense of responsibility placed on them can also translate to extra pressure. This form of pressure also exists for young people who are forced to think about their future. In the current situation the availability of career opportunities are becoming more and more limited, and this means that young people have to work even harder than ever before. It becomes unjustified for parents to say “when I was I child I did this…” because the situation is changing dramatically and people before do not have to face the same pressures that the current young society faces. For example, previously young people were even paid to go to university, now students are forced to take out loans which they may spend their entire lifetime struggling to pay back, simply because they wish to further their education to have a career.

The period of youth is a time where we should not only work hard, but also enjoy what life has to offer. It is a transition period to the stages of being an adult, and young people should be allowed to explore their new freedoms rather than immediately being labelled as ‘lazy’. The overwhelmingly large majority of young people are responsible for themselves, and know what they have to do. That doesn’t mean that they cannot take time out to relax though; everyone needs a break once in a while. It’s only fair.

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