Shout out to the time back when I thought adulthood meant making your own awesome decisions to rule your own awesome life. The hard truth is that adulthood is using the one gift card you were regifted for Christmas to pick up Windex, tampons, and cold medicine – and feeling incredibly grateful for it, alongside the new socks you desperately needed. Adulthood is realizing no one knows what they’re doing, every decision is a gamble, every life “choice” is either a Kamikaze move or a game of odds played in a sea of poker faces. Adulthood is realizing no one has ever known what they were doing.
A few months ago, I had just gotten back from my second job and realized I had three hours to sleep before my 8:30am class started. You know, the giant seminar of STEM students hoping Business Insider and Forbes really know their stuff about majors that will keep us out of poverty? So fun. We got to crunch numbers about how many years of debt we’ll have to be in, and the bare minimum quality of life we’ll need to have for the next 25 years to pay it all down. Mmm, good times.
It seems that education has been a lot of that. Worry, hope, more worry. Millennials, though, we’re told we complain daily. Constantly. All this wondering who I am, what I want, what I’m supposed to do, what I’m supposed to feel – and it never occurred to me to just open up a handy-dandy op ed column raging about my generation! From what I can glean from this raging opinion pieces, they’re life manuals full of grievances to correct right at our fingertips – just another young-person-nowadays privilege. Why not lend the ear we’ve so rudely withdrawn and fake it til we make it, right? Right. Onward then!
Ahem. I just can’t wait for graduation!
The thrill of wondering if you’ll find a job within the six months loan payback grace period is exactly the excitement my generation’s tiny little antisocial attention span lives for. With Betsy Devos as an education secretary, wondering if the few already-minimum Band-Aids from loan repayment programs and grace periods will get ripped right off and leave us totally helpless upon graduation just adds to the fun! Who knows what mysteries lie ahead? Seeing as she’s the kind of inexperienced millionaire who had so much handed through her that she creates unnecessary challenges for anyone less privileged so she can so nobly live vicariously through the hardships she never had. Apparently, so much sacrifice comes from accepting a ton of free money and doing nothing and return. We salute you for your service.
The other thing that is so. fun. about graduation: getting to apply for jobs! The only thing more thrilling than finding a needle in a haystack: places actually onboarding employees – nonetheless the golden ticket of one that actually offers enough hours, benefits, or living wage salary, or the even rarer unicorn of a position that’s not drastic and long term underemployment.
I’ll be sad to leave my part-time costumer service jobs where I have the beautiful gift of listening to the an older person screaming at me for helping an older-older person in an aisle but taking too long, or better yet: for my small but important role in multimillion dollar corporations not carrying the right brand of toilet paper. Trading those positions for other jobs of the exact same rank will be so sad. At least I’ll have the familiarity of my salary, which statistically will be exactly the same or slightly less. The pot will be sweetened by having a title that’s hopefully slightly relating to something you’d do with the degree I got to put on my Facebook profile and save my mother from shame. Maybe with all the time I used to spend in college courses, I can maintain the exact same level of exhaustion by taking up another unpaid internship on the vague promise that one will someday lead to relevant employment.
Most of all, I’ve been doing some special reading about what awaits me – not just the hopeful statistics of unemployment, impending global recession under a president who hates not white/not rich/not guys, and record shattering debt ceilings – but also blogs from reputable media outlets featuring editorials by dudes in the exact demographic 45 is tailoring our country to. (Hey, if they benefit from all the structural and institionalized cheat codes in society itself, they must know what they’re talking about right?)
I’ve learned so much from their opinions! You know, the ones they have tons of and somehow also have every platform and forum to share constantly, while the voices of any other demographic are offensive and exclusionary snowflakes are quickly shut down and degraded. (Wow! If America loves them that much, all the more credibility they must have!)
Let me share with you what I’ve learned about the exciting prospects ahead!
First of all, I can't wait to keep being a millennial who ruins everything! Did y'all know we're destroying the riches of every market?
I have to say, I really feel so bad for what we're doing to the folks that worked one summer at a weenie cart to cover a year of tuition and grabbed a mortgage only twice their salary by the time they were 25. All these shocked morning commentaries really make me feel bad about them having to sweat out whether they'll grab their 55th year's Christmas bonus.
All because of my super lazy, selfie-taking generation's collective failure to live below the means of the minimum wage that hasn't grown proportionately with the last 30 years of inflation. Not to mention how vain and selfish we are to spend less, and so so mean for not overcoming the recessions they caused or the unprecedented stratification we were raised in! If only we had followed expectations, picked up our bootstraps so we'd be lifted into the same privileges they were raised in instead of working three times as hard for half as much, and said "thank you" for the lovely inheritance of war, recession, intolerance, economic downturn, and opportunity wasteland they so nicely left for us.
Maybe then we could fulfill our life's purpose. You know, save the dying multi-billionaire from falling into mere-millionaire degradation: spend recklessly in direct response to the millions poured into marketing that's supposed to sweep me off my feet and past the convictions to get my $50,000 in student loans paid down before I die of old age.
Longing sigh… Well, a millennial can dream. Or keep “whining”, as I’m told we’re so good at.
What else can you do when the world’s burning, am I right? What else can you do when you're running on fumes just to grind more work into the hamster wheel to no where and ill-equipped to find a way out of an socioeconomic Hotel California, am I right? What else do you do when you and everyone you know is angry, and tired, am I right? What else can you do when have two hands tied behind your back while a guy in a suit is screaming in your ear to grab those good ole bootstraps and hoist yourself out of the three feet of concrete he poured and baked, am I right?
Perk up and pose, kid. Norman Rockwell’s getting ready to paint us pretty now that we’ve all had the cultural attitude adjustment the mystery men have just been dying for.