Credit: Steve Schirra
People say we are busier than our parents when they were our age. We jam-pack our schedules to the limit on most days. Well, some of us do. My Mondays through Thursdays consist of classes, editing, homework, studying, interviews and occasionally eating. I surprise myself with the amount I can accomplish in 24 hours.
I wouldn’t be nearly as productive if it weren’t for technology. I’m 21 years old and can barely remember life before the Internet. Encyclopedias and textbooks were really the only methods of finding information during middle school. Today, I couldn’t imagine writing a 12-page research paper without a high-speed connection. Having technology at our fingertips allows us to write papers in half the time. Cell phones let us call people while we are at the mall. Genius! Multitasking makes our lives more efficient.
But, if we are becoming more efficient than our parents were, why doesn’t life seem more relaxed? With the time we save, every college student should be able to fit in a daily nap, just like Grandpa. Instead we fill those hours with more tasks.
This topic was a hot issue at a dinner conversation I had with my parents last week. My dad didn’t agree with most of what I just said. Actually, he believes quite the opposite. If you ask him, “kids” my age are lazier than ever. I never thought I would see the day when my dad would say, “When I was your age . ” I guess hell just froze over.
He criticizes me for sleeping in until 11 a.m. on weekends. I’m not a morning person, get over it, Dad! By the time he was 21, he had a full-time job and a child on the way. He and my mom were newlyweds. She was studying to get her nursing degree, and he was only making $26,000 a year.
I agree that situations were different for my parents, but I don’t agree that they had a busier, more stressful lifestyle. At least they he had stability. A 9 to 5 job, Monday through Friday, no surprise. Whereas I get a new set of classes each semester with new responsibilities. In the last two years, I have lived at home, in a residence hall, in an apartment and am moving again in December.
My day doesn’t end at 5 p.m., either. To top it off, I’m poor. I have absolutely no income at this point. Instead, I rack up loans to pay my way through college with no guarantee of a career after graduation. If you ask me, the thought of being $40,000 in debt with no job scares the hell out of me. Beat that, Dad.
I’m not sure if we will ever agree on this subject. The truth is neither of us know, what the other’s life is really like. Nevertheless, we both agree life is moving faster now for both of us. With all of life’s advancements constantly updating, what will life be like for my children? It seems technology doesn’t simplify life – it complicates it. While children of the future may be more productive than I am today, I doubt they will be less busy.
Erica Weisburn is a newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]