What matters?

February 16, 2016

In Blog

Dear readers,

My name is Anna. Born and raised in the very East of Germany, I have made my way through the world and ended up in the Netherlands, where I am a student of International Studies specializing in the Middle East. I am excited to be part of this project of curious and enthusiastic writers, and hope we will create an insightful collection of young minds’ perspectives on our world. I also want to thank Norman for giving me this wonderful opportunity to write about what is important to me, and perhaps many of my peers.

What matters most to me are critical thinking and participation amongst my generation. The past few months have been enlightening to me in various ways, but mainly in regards to where I as a young and curious person stand in this wild world. Like most young people, I have spent a large part of my life trying to understand the way the world works, and to find and accept a part to play in it. What can I do to participate? How can I contribute? Am I able to be part of a movement? Am I supposed to discuss, think, share, criticize, or let others do the job for me?

The questions I asked myself for so long have become something much bigger at this point; and I have started to ask others the same things. The answers I receive often leave me disappointed with my generation, and especially how many view this wild world and their place in it. I have come to notice, that, whilst expressing discontent, most of my peers passively let the wild world fall asunder. “What’s the point?”, that’s what I hear a lot. The power of the establishment, the illusion of freedom, the disillusion of freedom – the awakening, and the complete, utter helplessness that comes with it, all of this may be contributing to the state my generation now finds itself stuck in.

As a student in an international environment, I have met many interesting and ambitious young people who are asking similar questions and who tend to be able to walk the fine line between naïve idealism and harsh reality: We have a tough road ahead of us, but we will do what it takes to be part of something bigger. During the course of my study, I have come to realize that not everybody of my generation uses their power to full potential – whether it is easier to just ‘let others fix things’, or whether it is simply impossible for some to grasp that there is a necessity for us to start fixing things ourselves…

Somehow, there are lights at the end of the tunnel. While there is passiveness, there also is a whole lot of activity around me. Whether it is young Americans rallying for Bernie Sanders, whether it is young Europeans traveling to Greece to volunteer in refugee camps – wherever things seem to be happening, people keep thinking, people keep engaging. We can’t rely on others to do the job for us, we need to think and engage, we need to look at what’s happening with good judgment, and we need to come up with alternative solutions to the rigged systems young people across the world are subjected to. As cheesy as it sounds, there is a future, and we are part of it. This is what matters to me. This is what I write about. I look forward to it.