Looking back at my student days, I remember a fairly linear and one-dimensional pursuit: study hard, get good marks, go to college, get a good job...you get the drift. Solving problems in society were mostly theoretical discussions over endless cups of chai in the college cafeteria or, at best, participating in a protest march. Life advice from elders at the time also led us in the same direction with the consolation that we would get "plenty of time later" to deal with these "external problems."
But times have changed now.
When I look around, I feel students are an empowered lot and studying hard is just one part of their existence. They are actively involved in societal issues - be it raising awareness about the harmful effects of plastic bags, or firecrackers on the environment, or helping the disadvantaged.
In fact, this community communicates and extends its support to people in other countries-- students in India, for example raised funds to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan; students in Canada raised funds to help build schools in Africa. Students all over the world are collaborating to rewrite the rules of student life as we knew it.
Within this new student genre, we are witnessing the emergence of leaders in their own right. Young men and women who believe in their power to solve the problems they see around them and then get to work about it – before or after graduating.
According to Ray Williams, leadership coach, the innovative approach of students today is helping them look beyond the depressive job scenario and hiring freezes; it is also helping a great deal in creating the next great entrepreneurial generation. In a blog in the Financial Post, Williams points to studies that reveal that more and more 18 to 24-year-olds are starting up businesses as compared to people in 35 to 44 age range.
More power to the inexperienced I say. As with this inexperience comes the enthusiasm and the energy to try something new – an aching need in an increasingly jaded world.