Had everything handed to us.
Addicted to screens.
If you are a millennial like me, you have probably heard your generation described like this. Many millennials even agree and have complacently accepted the belief that our generation isn’t good for anything. You’ve maybe even attributed the above descriptions to yourself and your social circle. Maybe you've even decided that you must be this way because you were born into it. You feel you need to shame your generation or else you will get stuck in its ways.
I would like to see an end to this kind of thinking.
Millennials, please do not be ashamed of our generation. People of all generations should stop thinking they're “above” our generation and recognize that no generation is perfect.
We are called the generation of people who received "participation medals." Some say we don’t contribute anything to society.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for recognizing our flaws as a generation. In doing so, we can become better from it. I see how many young people have had everything handed to them by their parents. I understand the majority of this generation spends too much time online. I know many of us lack a strong ethical and moral guidance, and many of us are lazy and expectant.
But I can’t say that we are a worthless generation, and I can’t say the flaws of our generation are entirely our fault.
People complain that we aren’t grateful for our work and educational and opportunities because we want lower college tuition and higher salaries. They say we want to be successful, but we don’t want to work to achieve that success.
Our generation is the most educated generation in history, though, with almost one-third of us acquiring a college degree and many of us earning graduate degrees. Now, we actually have to work harder to get a well-paying career because we need more education nowadays.
In generations past, it was possible to have a decent salary without a college degree. Now, the median pay gap now between those with and without a college degree is greater than ever.
College is also more expensive than ever, with the average tuition prices up 234% since 1994. This limits many people from getting to go to college at all, and those who do are usually left with a hefty debt.
Millennials don’t want reduced tuition costs because we are lazy or ungrateful. We want reduced tuition because we are broke and trying to get ourselves into college.
What many people don’t understand is that it’s not the millennials' fault that our country is currently in economic crisis—we were born into it. After putting ourselves in debt to acquire degrees to even be able to enter the workforce, we are expected to be financially stable in this time of low starting salaries and high entry requirements. No wonder more college graduates are moving back home than in decades. We aren’t making less money because we don’t work hard, we are making less money because past generations ruined our economy.
Baby boomers were also at one point considered a lazy generation— just like ours is. They at least had a better economic and political foundation. Millennials are growing up in economic haywire and yet we are blamed for it.
Another way blame is placed on us is claiming we are lazy because we spend more time on social media. What they don’t realize is that our generation has become so educated and engaged in activism because we are all given a voice now through social media outlets. Social media played a huge role in issues like feminism, #BlackLivesMatter, and the 2016 presidential campaign.
It is valid to say that perhaps some of this activism and speaking out against issues is not beneficial, but no one can say that millennials are apathetic.
I’m not arguing that my generation is perfect. I know that it has its flaws and needs a lot of work. My point is that shame is not the way to instill change in a generation. Instead, we need to recognize our obstacles so we can properly overcome them.
Our generation isn't worthless. It may have its problems, but I see so much potential in us. We are becoming educated, working hard to get admirable careers, and connecting with people. We have already made amazing social, economic, and political changes. Our generation is capable of so much greatness.
I urge you to believe it yourself and make everyone else believe it too.