I think it's human nature for parents to have high expectations of their children. In many ways, baby boomers accomplished more than any other generation before them, at an accelerated rate. As a result, their expectations of their children were high, and somewhat unrealistic.
Recent research shows that millennials are the first generation since WWII that won't achieve a higher income (considering inflation) than their parents.
We already make less than our parents did when they were our age, and the trend does not seem to be stopping anytime soon. Our parents told us we can do anything we set our minds to. This platitude coupled with an anemic economy, preventing us from reaching the American dream, is making us wonder if our parents really thought we could do anything, or if they knew they were feeding us a line.
We were told, “you can do anything you put your mind to.” So, many of us took this to heart by padding our resumes with extra-curricular activities and involvement in volunteer activities so that colleges would give us a chance. Many millennials wishing to attend college woke up early every day to study, read, catch the bus, or attend a before-school event. During the school day, we packed our days with AP classes. Study halls and off-periods did not exist for millennials with college ambitions.
We had to be actively involved to be competitive on paper. Our afternoons were filled with band rehearsal and sports practice. Our nights and weekends were filled with drama rehearsal, service projects and sporting events. Many of us regularly didn’t get home until after 9 p.m. Then, we had to finish homework and study. Family life suffered at the hands of ambition. But our families knew we were supposed to participate in all these things in order to get accepted to college, and get a bunch of scholarship money to circumvent future student loan debt.
At the same time, we achieved much. We were ‘priming the pump’ of ambition and felt what it was like to accomplish positive outcomes. We developed skills and built relationships with a variety of people from all over. Our reach was global and our passions were ignited.