“Qu’ils mangent de la brioche.”
As my Gen Y boyfriend and I sit in a cafe listening to four men negotiate a five million dollar mortgage, we silently devour our delicious “smashed avocado with crumbled feta on five-grain toasted bread” [Cheers to Australia’s own Tim Gurner] and think about how sad it is that because we threw all our money away on avocados, we will never own a house like these gentlemen several generations above us.
Oh wait… that’s millennials, what a relief! We commonly get lumped in with millennials but we’re actually pre-’97 babies, so I think that means we get to have our mortgage and eat our avocados too!
I get the pleasure of receiving comments like this on a daily basis working in Sydney’s beautiful Double Bay for my day job. See, *read in posh voice* I have a degree. I have this huge student loan that gains me regular love letters from the government and gives me a very pretty, very shiny piece of paper, and after all that hard work, success! – I have a job.
Here I spend my days juggling my day job and my career and having people talk to me like I have no higher education and probably dropped maths. I did drop maths. That’s not the point.
The world is changing. One degree isn’t enough, each generation is living longer than the last and therefore keeping their jobs longer, staying in their houses longer and populating the world to a beautiful flourish. It’s not a bad thing, it just means times have changed. No longer can we leave school at 15, walk straight into an apprenticeship and stay in that career for many years. Now there are so many job industries to go into and so many amazing, exciting and wonderful things to learn, that for many people higher education is important but also, is expensive. Sorry Tim Gurner, I think what may be costing young people their future is the ridiculous amount of debt they accrue before reaching 25 in order to have a decent shot at establishing a career… not their delicious high-fibre diets.
The above photo is me! That’s me! March this year. I threw my very expensive rental cap into the air and marched across the stage in bright red, sequin covered high heels like the Wizard of Oz Class of 2016. These were three of the toughest years of my life. Blood, sweat, tears, triumph, heart-break and lots of reality.
I remember the reactions I had when I received the letter in the mail.
I had gained acceptance to the school I wanted to go to so badly. And in rolled the opinions.
“Lucky you, you’ll just be having fun all the time.”
“Drama school? I would hit the roof if I found out my Godly daughter wanted to go to drama school!”
I ran with a Romans 14 mind and I worked hard. Maybe I wasn’t the best in my class but I worked. A degree like mine isn’t just “fun all the time”.
Coming from a family on the poverty line, I was a hard worker. My mum was widowed when I was 12 and I grew up over night. I learned how to cook, to clean, would help my siblings with their homework, would make sure everyone was getting their 8 hours sleep, worked hard at school to give my mum one less thing to worry about and make sure I had the best chance at getting a good education.
University was even more challenging. Classes were 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday with the expectation of attendance to extra dance classes throughout the week, regular gym attendance, a healthy living plan, and trying to pay my rent by working my Friday nights, my Saturdays and reserving Sundays for church and finishing assignments.
There’s this common misconception that all students just drink their money away and have fun (and eat too many avocados!). There’s this assumption made that we all expect to have things handed to us on a silver platter without having to damage our fresh manicures. But when you have a dream, a serious career plan, a goal to achieve and a degree to earn, you work for it. I am proud to say that on my maternal side of the family, I am the first to gain a college degree!
I think we all make assumptions about each other and the amount of effort we put in; whether it’s someone of another generation, nationality, socio-economic standing or education. We assume we know what it’s like for the other person and that they’re just getting hand outs without actually working for it. If you ask me, that’s wasted brain room and besides, “comparison is the thief of joy.”
Hard work looks different for different people because we all have different life goals. Not everyone dreams of having the white picket fence life, not everyone dreams of performing in front of a theatre of strangers, not everyone wants kids or wants money or wants their own business. Some people want to travel for the rest of their lives, some people want to stay single, some people want a big family while they’re still young, some people want the degree that society names in the top ten most useless qualifications. It doesn’t matter.
I believe we all have a dream. Something we want more than anything else in the world. Maybe instead of being so quick to assume someone else isn’t working as hard as we are, we should take a moment to see how we can encourage them to go out there and get it!
On that note, kids of ’94, you reckon it’s time to go out there and get some more Avos?
“All of our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”