Essays on Technology and Culture

Best, Brightest — and Saddest?

Here is what Carolyn Walworth, a junior at Palo Alto High School, recently wrote: “As I sit in my room staring at the list of colleges I’ve resolved to try to get into, trying to determine my odds of getting into each, I can’t help but feel desolate.”

She confessed to panic attacks in class, to menstrual periods missed as a result of exhaustion. “We are not teenagers,” she added. “We are lifeless bodies in a system that breeds competition, hatred, and discourages teamwork and genuine learning.”

Best, Brightest — and Saddest? –

While I’m long past this stage in my life, I can sympathize with the feeling. The pressure wasn’t nearly as heavy on me as a teenager, and yet I still feel like I’m not living up to expectations as a thirty-one year old adult. That kids in the Valley and elsewhere are jumping in front of trains should be a wake up call about the pressures of modern American life.