Yemaya Adofo (@yemaya_kai)
Age: 26 | Profession: UofT Undergraduate Student
Yemaya is pursuing a Major in Literature & Critical Theory and a Minor in Art History and Italian at the University of Toronto. She is currently taking a break from school to reflect on her goals in life, such as revisiting her original career plan to become a lawyer. You can find Yemaya nowadays working, volunteering at film and dance events, and out with her friends at local Toronto cafes.
Read more about Yemaya’s thoughts on our generation below in today’s Millennial Spotlight.
1. What are some characteristics that you share with other millennials?
I am obsessed with image. I feel like I am always having an internal dialogue where I have to present a certain image of myself to others even if it’s not entirely accurate. I’m often comparing myself with other people and I think that this is influenced by social media. But even when it seems like people’s lives are perfect and they are travelling everywhere, I have to remember that I don’t always know what is happening in their lives.
2. What negative perceptions can you think of, and do you agree/disagree with them?
Our parent’s generation thinks millennials don’t really care or worry about political issues. I think there are two types of us: those of us who know that political resources are available and want to become more involved and educated, and those who think “why should I bother”. Social media is great because it makes it easy for us to learn about issues and stay connected. But there are some of us that believe they won’t make a difference. They may be disheartened because they are constantly talked down on and exposed to so much political corruption so they think voting won’t make a difference.
There’s also the perception that millennials are selfish. There are people who are selfish, but they don’t represent the majority of us. And I feel like every generation says that about the next. If you have a bad image of a particular group of people in your head, then you are always going to look for things that reinforce that.
3. What makes this generation different from the last?
There is the stereotype that grandparents are conservative and close-minded, but it could be from having little exposure to diverse cultures. In North America, we grow up exposed to a wide group of people. Most people now are open to dialogue and learning more about different cultures.
4. You are currently taking a break from school, can you tell me more about that?
I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer, but recently I started to rethink that. I’m taking a break from school right now to re-evaluate what I want and what my goals are. When I was young I had helicopter parents that were very controlling and I would be involved in so many things like drama, choir, dance, ballet, tennis, violin and karate. I’ve pushed myself so far, so now that I am older and in more control of my life I need to ask myself if I actually enjoyed and appreciated what I’ve done. I was home-schooled for all of my life, so I went from being so sheltered to having so much freedom and it was a big change.
I am volunteering alot to learn about what’s happening in the city and to keep myself busy. I was recently involved with the Regent Park Film Festival, the Reel Asian International Film Festival, and Dusk Dances.
5. What are some of the main thoughts on your mind right now?
I’m at a point where I feel stagnant. I don’t want to say that I feel bad, but the feeling does sometimes bother me. I’m seeing younger people than me with more accomplishments and, despite my accomplishments, I feel like I should be at a different place in my life. I used to have an image of where I should be at this point. It’s easy to think you are the only one struggling, but I think we all have similar fears and doubts. I’ve had anxiety and depression since childhood, so I internalize my thoughts and don’t talk about them that much. Only recently I learned to open up to people. Throughout childhood, I was raised not to talk about mental health and to just push myself – which is not healthy – so I struggled with that in university.
I’m also having a little existential crisis when I think that I may be 30 when I finally finish all my studies.