An entitled generation

Carmen Gomez
An entitled generation

I am a child of a past era; but that does not mean that my values are out of zinc with today’s world, or less important. Nor am I making any comparisons in order that those values of today either appear to be wrong, or less worthy. I am simply stating my case; one which I feel should be taken into consideration and given some serious thought to. 

I believe that very little is done at home, primarily, perhaps in schools, to enlighten the youth of today, by giving then something to compare their own lives with; i.e. the values we held so dear many moons ago in our hometown; when we had to work very hard for everything we wanted, because nothing came free as it does today; and yet, we still made it work.

If personal goals were not achieved, we would turn our heads to some other. We would at least try, and we were not afraid of putting in that extra elbow grease, or work that much harder.


I was chatting with a friend about the debating societies that existed in our youth, which not only broadened minds, but exercised the spirit of venture taken on, based on ones merits and desire to succeed. Perhaps in those days, if we had thought about it, we might have yearned for some extra financial help say, to set us off; for sure openings which are there today and were non existential then, might have lightened our load; they would have made our lives easier; but here’s the thing; never better.

Because in not having anyone to lead you on your way; in having to come in from the cold without a map or a helping hand to show you the way, it made you grow up faster. It gave you backbone; confidence in your abilities; a hunger to fight for what you believed in. It made you strong.

I witnessed a youth gathering recently on TV and I was glad to see so many young people attending, eager I thought, to exchange ideas, or even allow us to see their vision of the future; or hear of their aspirations to try and make our world a better place. In my day we not only fought for our own personal needs, but we wanted to make a difference. Instead of any of this, what I heard was just talk from complacent, and at the same time somewhat dissatisfied young people, who were only interested in asking politicians present, for more financial help concerning their stay in the UK; quite apart from having their studies paid for. It was sadly painful to watch when I recalled in my day, the monumental struggle we had if we wanted to achieve our dreams; a time when one had to do it all, off one’s own back.

Not their fault

It’s not their fault really, when you think about it, that they should consider unfair or below them, to have to take up some small job say, to pay for extras whilst studying at their CHOSEN Universities. University was something for the rich in my day.

What we could hope for was simply a place at college if one was lucky enough to get a Commonwealth bursary. Not much choice either as to where you wanted to go, or even study. I was confronted with the dilemma of either accepting to study a subject which had nothing to do with me or my chosen one, by the education board i.e. or not being able to go at all.

I wanted to study Drama, not out of impulse but because, as I put it to the board, I was passionate about the subject, because I knew how much this would favourably impact on a child’s formation and education. Guess what; I ended up placing my hard earned bursary on the table; which I had worked hard for, and leaving the room. That was how it was in those days. NO choice! Take it or leave it; or if your parents could somehow afford the ride they would have to fork out to support you on your way. This was not my case.

Off to UK

I decided to go to the UK anyway to find my own way; as my sister later did and many others of my generation. My parents could ill afford to accompany me; or help me find me a place to stay; or buy me kitchen utensils or lamps for digs etc. I stayed at a small hotel run by Gibraltarians as a starting point and soon after I found a place to stay. I found work to sustain me, using the knowledge acquired through my school years, whilst I looked for an agent to represent me, and find a way to achieve my temporary membership card within the actors union, without which I could never hope to work in my desired profession.

Did this come easy? No! It was an uphill struggle, where I had to use my initiative. When I fell, I picked myself up and continued unabated. I had to work hard and put my hand to many a job in-between going up for acting jobs. Did I pick up the phone to ask for money back home? No; because apart from the fact that there might not have been any to give me, I wanted to stand on my own two feet and prove I could get where I wanted through my own efforts.

A great many of my generation made a successful career for themselves. Young people who were prepared to work to learn a trade; people who were not counting on the government for freebies or just looking for a stable job however uninteresting, with a pension in sight. All this even before they’ve had time to think for themselves and ask themselves what they really want out of life! So I am sorry for this entitled generation, because they are missing out on life.