In the current political climate of the United States, it seems that there is a great urgency for civilians to reflect upon historical patterns of systemic oppression, persuasion via dog-whistle rhetoric and methods of resistance. As students at an institution of higher education, we have the responsibility to value our privileges and pursue an education that does not terminate at the end of our classes.
In my writing on this platform, I have chosen to cover health-related subject matter such as self-love or content related to organization and goal setting to maximize productivity. However, in holistic health, it is not just the physical and emotional wellbeing that should be cared for.
Taking the time and interest in your own intellectual and cultural growth is a critical component to being a well-rounded and informed young person.
It seems to me that there is a culture in the United States at the vast majority of colleges that surrounds meaningless relationships, insufficient engagement and priorities that are out of sync with larger issues than where to buy beer for the day party. I recognize my diligent, passionate and dedicated peers who contribute to class dialogues and spend time outside of the classroom connecting to issues that go beyond our campus and I am grateful for these members of the Fairfield community.
It is my goal in my writing for Odyssey to create the space for my peers and I to consider healthy behaviors and to practice kindness to not only ourselves, but also the world around us. In the new year, I have decided to open up my content to explore not only the spiritual, emotional and physical elements of health, but to also address cultural happenings around campus and beyond.
I feel blessed to be attending an institution that allows me the opportunities to educate myself and continue to grow as a citizen of the world. We have access to brilliant professors, a comprehensive library of resources and the freedom to ask questions about not only the narratives we are told, but also why these narratives are told and what their implications are for our sense of purpose in the world around us.
I hope that in the new facet of my writing, we can ask questions together, share content that makes us think and consider how we want to build and nourish ourselves as young adults.
Chimamanda Adichie warns us of the danger in a single story. It seems that millennials are being increasingly portrayed as excessively sensitive and out of touch with reality by the baby boomer generation. However, I know that my peers and I are more than the misinformed single story and that there are nuances behind shifts in identity and action that deserve more than dismissal.
It seems to me that there was an opening up for conversations surrounding issues such as systemic oppression, LGBTQ identities and activism to be had. I am grateful to be a millennial because I know the digital age has allowed my peers and I to connect to people from a myriad of different backgrounds and experiences, which have allowed us to consider the effect of disparities in access and the limitations that socioeconomic status place on individuals.
Through online engagement with diverse populations, millennials at large are able to create a space for conversations to take place in which authority is questioned and ideas are exchanged.
While certain groups of people may perpetuate the single story of millennials as “snowflakes”, there are others who recognize that today's youth are attempting to dismantle the single stories that were passed down from generation to generation and have worked to keep certain groups oppressed.
It is not absurd for human beings to demand equality, agency and recognition according to how they choose to self-identify. It is not absurd that students at universities rally together in peaceful protest to identify issues of systemic racism and to identify the power in both policy and rhetoric in enforcing negative stereotypes.
I am not presenting an argument that denies the existence of apathetic or single-minded millennials. However, I am urging members of the prior generation to recognize the huge passion and hunger for justice had by today’s youth. Young people have come together in rallies surrounding police brutality targeting people of color, young people have come together in marches for freedom of sexual expression and young people have come together to stand up for the rights of immigrants and women’s rights as equals.
In the face of a highly divisive nation, millennials are carving out the space to express their concerns, raise their questions and practice compassion.
There is no single story of today’s millennials; we are varied in our identities and it is in that variation that we find our connection. Through our respect of the American Dream for equality and opportunity for all people, we wish to tell our vast stories, to encourage one another to feel safe in their own bodies and we understand the critical nature of speaking out against attempts to silent us or render a single derogatory story of who we are.