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January 23, 2018
Often, the specific time period determines the direction a student’s future will take. Seventy years ago, joining the military would have been common.
Ralph Sternick, who graduated high school in 1946 and was a member of the Army Signal Corp. 24th Division, said, “Until World War II leveled off, we still needed an army, and high school graduates wanted their G.I. Bill to go to college and get a better career.”
The G.I. Bill offers veterans of the military support towards college costs.
Despite the benefits of joining the military, the costs sometimes outweigh them.
“The idea of joining the military was like horror; the Vietnam War was going on and hundreds of men were coming home in coffins every week,” Lee said.
As a result, the Vietnam War saw an increase in male college enrollment to maintain draft deferment, as well as steady female college enrollment. This encouraged the development of a new era of technology, advocating convenience and efficiency.
“When Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were creating their first computers, there was a whole different dynamic. There is the concept that if you are not educated in technologically, how are you going to survive in the next lifetime? Society values the ability to work a computer, and if you don’t know that, then there’s this technological divide,” Grassilli said.
With the relationship between society and technology irreversible, those seeking a future of success are forced to adapt to the circumstances.
Sternick said,“Now, with robotics and electronics replacing physical jobs, you have to have a good degree in technology to program them and do well.”
Ken Will, a firefighter at the San Mateo Fire Department, also encourages participation in education beyond high school through a trade school or four-year school.
However, a student’s happiness needs to be considered first.
“Students should figure out what they love and pursue that. That way, you love going to work; your career will consume a huge part of your life so you want to be happy doing what you do,” Will said.
Despite the boundaries of society, some are able to navigate the fine line between stability and passion.
“The first time I thought of being a teacher — I was in elementary school — was when my dad told me that when he got out of the Japanese-American internment camp during World War II, his high school teachers refused to give him books or help him,” Tsuchiyama said. “Being a little kid, I thought that I want to be a teacher so I could help all of my students, though I didn’t recognize that the times were so different back in the ‘40s.”
In the end, a student’s morals and ambitions are the strongest factors for change. Their everyday decisions shape their futures and guide the course of society for those after them.
“When you wake up in the morning, you will have to have a reason to get out of bed. It’s up to you; you grow up, and you’ve got to take care of yourself,” Grassilli said.