A New Mentality
In our parents' age, it was plausible to be obedient with what the system told you to do, which is: study hard, follow the rules, create a family, get a house, get a car and enjoy a nice retirement. It's true that they were probably not living the life of their dreams, but they were comfortable enough not to question or worry about anything else apart from making sure that they were not getting into unnecessary trouble.
Nowadays, we can see that the rules of the game have changed, since especially youth unemployment is amazingly high in many countries in Europe and around the World. The main problem though, is that most young people still have the same mentality of our older generations, and they say: "But they told me that if I followed the rules I could have a job and a comfortable life, and after studying all these years nobody offers work easily anymore". They behave as victims and blame it on the system, while they're sitting on the couch waiting for somebody to give them a job. A great amount of them deal with this by studying additional and expensive degrees, masters, etc., hoping that the economic situation will change, and postponing the great and scary challenge of facing the real World.
I'm not saying that the educational and economic system together with politicians and corporations are not to blame, but most of the people now in charge went through the same system itself, and it's a trap that affects everybody.
All of this may sound very negative, but if you look at it from another perspective, it's the first time in history when we have the opportunity to consider which job would suit us the most regarding our personality, instead of being a cog in a machine like older generations. We now have resources to learn anything on the Internet, we can travel cheaply, meet inspiring people from different Countries, share ideas with like-minded people from any part of the World, etc. It's time to leave our comfort zone and start taking responsibility for our lives. It's time to be brave and creative, and instead of waiting for others to do things for you, making them yourself and being proactive.
You can look the other way and decide not to change your mind set at this moment, but it's very likely that you'll have to do it anyway in the near future, since the current economical and unemployment situation cannot go on this way any longer, and it will crack at some point. Humans, in general, are afraid of change, but outstanding facts like economical crisis force people to change, since the current suffering is greater than the resistance to change. We'll soon see more and more people waking up to this new reality and start leading their life consciously.
The first step you can take is to stop your autopilot life for a while and consider if what you're doing in your life is deep down what you really want. If it is, just keep up doing that, but if it isn't, don't regret all the effort you made to get to a place in your life you don't want to be, but think that all the mistakes and challenges you went through were necessary to get to this point in your life, where you are finally ready to make a decision of starting to do something that actually fulfills you. Stop believing in the system and start believing in you, and then you will start making wiser decisions and start following your unique path towards a great life.
In my case, after finishing high school, I had the opportunity to take part in an EVS (European Voluntary Service) in Northern Ireland, and after that, I joined the DNS program in Denmark. Both in EVS and DNS, you face the real World and take responsibility for your actions since the beginning, and you have to deal with new challenges, since you're constantly out of your comfort zone. Thanks to these challenges, you're able to grow as a person and you get to know yourself better, discovering how you react to different situations and conditions. This way you learn how to be more efficient and productive, as well as what your strong points and weaknesses are, so you can make wiser decisions in your future life. You also learn one of the most important skills to have in this unpredictable and fast-changing World, which is to be flexible and adaptive.
One of the facts that caught my attention the most during my preparatory weekend in Tvind is that all the DNSers of team 2013, who were about to finish the program, said that felt ready to go anywhere and be able to do anything, and that the main "problem" at that time was that there were many possibilities ahead of them, and it was hard to choose which one they wanted to take. They feel they have the experience, skills and resources to accomplish whatever it is that they want to do. Now, how many young people who go through the current educational system can say this?
I think that the innovative DNS education actually suits the needs of the 21st century students, offering the right combination between theory, practice and experiences. The students become proactive and they receive the tools to shape their own life the way they want it to be. I have the feeling that in the future this kind of education will be more popular, and we will remember DNS as a pioneer.