The truth, then, is this: our generation was raised with an understanding that the image we portrayed mattered more than who we actually were. We believed this not out of some malevolent, externally imposed agenda, but because it was actually true. The result was that nothing we ever did felt organic; instead, everything felt like a checked box. You played sports to prove you were competitive. You took classes to get grades, those wonderful letters that separated friends and induced panic attacks and never really went away and felt like the world for as long as I can remember. You took AP classes because they were decidedly not interesting; they were just faster, and for that reason, better signals of competence. You participated in extracurriculars because if you didn’t, there would be more empty boxes on your applications than there would be on those of your competition
— Zander Nethercutt, The Instagram Generation.