Rantings of a 20 year old

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This letter by yours truly appeared in Parade's "Fresh Voices" column on 16 June 1991. (Parade is a color magazine insert to Sunday newspapers all across the US. Fresh Voices is the column where they get opinions from young people, generally teenagers.)

(Parade's edit)

I'm 20, and one thing that especially bugs me is that many older adults (don't tell me I'm not an adult) can't see through your age, no matter what kind of person you are. I've always wondered why no one talks about discrimination against the young, because it's certainly out there.

I also suffer from what I call the "Lack of Paper syndrome." I have many talents that could be put to use in a wide variety of fields, from accounting to writing, but I can't even be considered for jobs in these fields because I don't have a college degree--the "paper." It doesn't matter that I might have studied on my own and might have 10 times the knowledge of the person who went to college (I have one year of college). It doesn't matter that I can learn anything I want to very fast. After almost a year of working and paying my own bills, I know what the real world is like, yet most older adults would still insist that I don't.

The people who are now in charge in the business world want us to go through the same irrational steps that they went through in order to get where they are now. That's the main reason the system remains the way it is. I think it's time for a change.

Gregory J. Pacek, 20, Shepherdstown, WV

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