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Caitlin and her friends on national commitment day wearing their college shirts

Society Expectations: Can They Be Crushed?

In society, there are many expectations that young people are supposed to follow. But why are we being pressured to follow them? In reality, these expectations and social norms are imposed by society and often bring stress into the lives of those who strive to follow them.


As a senior in high school, societal pressure starts to kick in and stress students out. Students are forced to focus and think that they need to go to college after high school, start a family after college, and get a job to support your family.


Get married and start a family.

Society has brainwashed us into thinking that to be successful and happy you have to get married and start a family. The truth to that is almost half of the American marriages end up in divorce. “About 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce,” according to the American Psychological Association. “The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher.” Being married and having children should not define a person’s happiness and the time at which we take these life steps should not predetermine. Menopause Magazine examined older mothers’ life expectancy and found that women who had their last child after the age of 33 are more likely to live to 95,” says U.S. News. “In fact, researchers reported that these women had twice the chance of living to 95 or older than those who had their last child before their 30th birthday.”


You have to make a lot of money to be happy.

Society puts a huge emphasis on wealth and success. Many think that in order to be successful you have to make large salaries. Since children are young, they are taught to believe that being wealthy is the goal to strive for in life. Although money does pay the bills, wealth can consume your thoughts and make you unhappy if you don’t make enough. The amount of money you have or earn could even change the way others view you in society. Some can ignore the fact of how much money one makes and do what they love, regardless if it's a huge moneymaker. 


High school graduates have to go to college right after school.

The expectation is often for students to attend college right after high school graduation. Sometimes, though, that timing doesn't work for all. Taking a gap year saves you money, it doesn't rush you and gives you a better sense of purpose. In fact, in the United Kingdom, and in the United States, “students who had taken a Gap Year were more likely to graduate with higher grade point averages than observationally identical individuals who went straight to college,” according to the Gap Year Association.