Why do people think the grass is greener on the other side? By Mana Williams. 10-15 Minutes.
I remember having conversations with my fifteen-year-old sister, the age of closed bedroom doors and hoodies at the beach… She was wearing a navy blue shirt with the silhouette of the Eiffel Tower on the front and the title “P A R I S” in green ink. The typical hipster-town girl trend and an attitude to boot. The Doc Martens ripped jeans and Reggie-wear community versus the no sleeved white shirt with short black shorts and converses with ankle string bracelets. The Nike labelled shoes, socks, duffel bags, shorts, running shirts and probably even underwear…
I asked my sister why she loved Paris so much and her answer was because she “just does…” I wasn’t able to figure out what subliminal propaganda would have been administered through her lifespan to gauge a lust for escargot. A teenagers portfolio of life goals likely includes; becoming a trillionaire in three weeks, owning a mansion, having a French husband and living across the road from the Cathedral of Notre Dame De Paris. A generation I have grown in where the line between materialism and imagination have been blurred to grow an unhealthy expectation. Apart from its romantic undertones, three-star Michelin restaurants, a gigantic metal monument (Eiffel Tower), the end of a 21-day bike race and the Champs Elysees (Tour De France)… What does Paris actually have that out of any place in the world, a fifteen-year-old girl living in a small town in New Zealand would have any interest in?
Five-year-olds in school are questioned about what they want to be when they grow up. You would anticipate that they would say “Doctor, Artist, Fireman, Police Officer.” As they grow up to 12 years old they might say “Gymnast, Professional Rugby Player, Professional Video Gamer, Lawyer, Architect, Engineer.” So they are encouraged to set themselves up for a successful career by choosing the right classes, completing homework on time and having perfect attendance in class. They enter College with a pre-determined expectation that if they are able to complete university and gain a degree they will be guaranteed a job in their desired field and will have that instant gratification they desired and apparenty deserved…
So why do we do homework over the weekend?
The answer isn’t linear. In my high school years, I was torn between studying Architecture and Engineering. I had been informed by a family friend that there wasn’t a lot of money in architecture and that Civil Engineering was a better field to get into.
“A Senior Architect is capable of earning around $100 000 whilst a Civil Engineer is capable of earning upwards of $220 000 per annum.” – Said by a Jealous Nobody.
Based on one man’s comparisons I was provoked into believing Civil Engineering was the better option. I changed classes to suit pre-requisite requirements to gain entrance into University under a Bachelor of Engineering. One of the courses I had to choose was Chemistry… Needless to say, my relationship with Chemistry was not all rosy or a positive enforcement of learning development. Worst of all I chose to do Chemistry because of one man’s comparison. Choosing to give up my dream for a reality that maybe the grass is greener on the other side.
After re-aligning myself to Architecture and wiping the shit, that was Chemistry, off of my shoe, apologies to any Chemist’s reading, I began studying with my hopes and expectations set high. Why does University present classes without stating the difficulty of learning and that the practical applications of learnt materials in University are actually minimal and in some cases irrelevant?
Students set out after the March intake orientation learning who they are and wondering how their career might pan out. Classes are set where for every credit you earn at University you are expected to complete 10 hours of study. When students turn into professionals who run businesses or have other priorities like family or relationships. They are not tutored on ways in which they can develop during the weekend because they are up to all hours of the night stressing out about study time.
“Imagine if students were treated like Professionals and tutors had appointments with students and would have to teach students within their allotted timeslot without failure or grading.”
During my year I visited a number of start-up businesses and Architecture firms through family and friend connections with an embedded interest in finding out what it was like being a professional. One Architect claimed that a typical working week would consist of the maximum of 40 hours because they were on Salary. He claimed that there was no overtime pay due to restrictions created by his firm. As a result, the Architect refused to work during the weekends. So why should we be forced to study during the weekend and equally why should school children have to complete homework projects during the weekend? This is not a plea to get out of work during the weekends. It is aimed at independent growth and time for self and psychological development.
What is the point in studying something you are passionate about if you lose your personal time to figure out what you are actually passionate about?
We drive safest when we are not fumbling with our phones or eating food. We focus better when we are not distracted. Obviously… If a student studies 40 hours in a week there should be nothing they cannot accomplish. Months into my degree there was not a single student studying architecture who was not buried in sketch books or CAD programs on Saturday evenings or Sunday mornings. That’s sad.
We are so consumed by the realities of the cost of our personal ambitions that we fail to see how we are losing out on significant moments and opportunities. But it isn’t our fault because we are blinded by social pressures from the age of five to perform and reach these expected levels. We are bred to feel that the grass is greener on the other side like a dog is bred to think food has magical powers. The consistent propaganda whether it’s through social media about how incroyable Paris is or through jealous word of mouth that Engineering is better than Architecture. We are all made to read green ink.
Develop a routine that prioritises YOU not what is expected of you. The expectation lies with somebody ELSE.
“Develop a can-do-spirit and be sure you are not suppressed by the naysayers whose daily actions are meant to discourage you from achieving what you believe.”
― Israelmore Ayivor