Ethan Holaday, 2011

Bowling Green

Today, the youth of America face a myriad of new challenges from cyber-bullying to astronomical college tuition. However, the most daunting difficulty of all is a task as old as humanity and as universal as breathing: answering the question "Who am I?"

In Demian, novelist Herman Hesse ponders, "Each man's life represents a road toward himself..." It must be then, that young adulthood is the time at which existence of such a road is recognized and the first steps toward paving a more unswerving path are taken. Alas, we find society encourages conformity at each step. Teenagers must ask of their every action and word, "Does this reflect my true self?"

Recently, the development of the internet has had a markedly pejorative impact on self-discovery. With all the choices this unfathomably expansive network presents, teenagers have become cloyed with options. No expression of identity can satisfy us. What's more, social networking sites, supposedly platforms of self-expression, have become platforms of self-distraction. As we become obsessed with staying connected to others as a collective, we rarely stop to reflect on ourselves.

If the individual is thus alienated from his identity, he ceases to be an individual.

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