ERIN McAULIFFE had a vision for this summer. A 20-year-old junior at Bowdoin College, she had lined up an internship at a New York publishing house and imagined stimulating days leafing through manuscripts, and evenings of sparkling conversation with friends at downtown cafes.
She ended up starring in a real-life version of the movie “Adventureland” instead. In that recent comedy, a recent college graduate is forced by economic hardship to work at a suburban amusement park.
Life is imitating art for Ms. McAuliffe. With her parents unable to help bankroll three months of unpaid work in Manhattan, she gave up the internship offer and moved home to Andover, Mass., where she took the one job she could find: working 12-hour days at an amusement park. For $7.80 an hour, she tends bumper cars and the big swing, and endures the many carny jokes of her friends.[snip]
In the short term, the lost summer of 2009 might actually be a blessing, some psychologists said, especially because members of this generation have lived their lives like track stars trying to run a marathon at the pace of a 100-meter dash — their parents typically waiting at every turn with a stopwatch.“Parents have really put a lot of pressure on the kids — everything has been organized, they’re all taking A.P. courses, then summer hits and they’re going to learning camps,” said Peter A. Spevak, a psychologist in Rockville, Md.
Say Hello to Underachieving
By ALEX WILLIAMS
New York Times July 5, 2009