Please, Stop Labeling My Generation As Lazy

Please, Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers, Stop Calling My Generation Lazy

Why do you think it is getting harder and harder for people to get into college? Because people are working harder and harder.


In today's age, a false stereotype plagues the younger generation: today's teenagers and young adults lack the drive needed in order to succeed.

The older members of society often complain that adolescents and young adults no longer work towards a goal, but rather spend the majority of their time on their cell phones, on social media, complaining, or simply doing other things than work, thus, wasting their lives away.

A famous social commentator has written: "The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise" Ironically though, Greek philosopher, Socrates, made this statement more than two thousand years ago. This opinion of young people has now prevailed for two thousand years: many adults of today believe this current generation of teens acts lazy and disrespectful.

According to Andrea Kay Gannett of USA Today, hard work no longer plays a prominent role in the life of a young individual, as millenials possess a "self-centered work ethic," and lack the ability to "look around and see what should be done". In the eyes many (not all) in the older generation, young people lack proper work ethic. However, critics of the teenage population fail to recognize that the rising generation does, in fact, possess a very strong work ethic. In an era in which adolescents and young people compete against one another to achieve the highest title, hard work must persist. Contrary to critics' objections, competition and the desire for independence serves as a driving force that motivates young people to achieve their goals of success.

According to, work ethic is properly defined as "the belief in the moral benefit and importance of work and its inherent ability to strengthen character." However, this definition does not have strict limitations, as it can apply to working hard in school, at a job, or simply for a general goal. Contrary to popular belief, high school students possess a substantial work ethic, as they feel immense pressure to succeed. According to Denise Reynolds of Stanford University, eight in ten students feel that success is important, no matter what the cost. Work ethic defines life for young people within both the classroom and the workforce. Just as one innately possesses the desire to acquire food for survival, some possess the unending desire to work hard. In working efficiently, some hope to eventually gain success, or the "food," that continually fuels their self-worth.

Aspiring, young students defy stereotypes, as they possess a never-ending desire to succeed through hard work. Many high school and college students perform with this drive in order to acquire a successful career, as they view school as a means that will lead towards a greater future. They believe it is one's "job" to learn and gain knowledge in order to obtain a position in their chosen professional field. However, this success does not come easily. According to the National Survey of Student Engagement's findings, the average student spends about 17 hours each week preparing for classes, which includes homework, reading, and any other assignments. Many students push through this heavy workload in an effort to increase their GPA, as they aspire to get accepted into prestigious universities, or if they are currently in college, to have a job once they graduate. Competition amongst high school students especially proves cutthroat, and many obsessively ask their peers about their scores, grades, and overall performance; therefore, many students must have a work ethic in order to meet their ideas of success.

In addition to performing well in school, teenagers also possess work ethic in an effort to earn their own money through working part-time jobs. According to CNN, in the summer of 2015, 4.7 million teenagers had jobs, many of them saving their money for college expenses. In holding jobs many teens hope to develop identities, increase in autonomy, achieve new accomplishments, develop work experience, and become more independent. A study carried out by the U.S. Department of Labor found that fifty percent of American teenagers hold informal jobs, such as babysitting or yard work, by age twelve, and by the age of fifteen nearly two-thirds of American teens have had some kind of employment. The majority of teenagers who hold jobs do so with the intent of earning their own money in an effort to gain independence from their parents, or because they have to provide for themselves in order to meet their goals and expectations. In order to take on such a responsibility and succeed, these individuals must possess a strong work ethic. Thus, nearly two-thirds of the younger population defies the "lazy" stereotype. They are holding jobs through which they can earn their own income and develop a sense of responsibility and independence. It is evident then that young individuals naturally possess work ethic; therefore, quelling the belief that they lack the drive and character needed in order to succeed.

This being said, work ethic must not be defined by society, but rather by the individual. For, if we were to stick to the societal standards of work ethic, we would be never satisfied; mainly because some of the most hard-working individuals are often described as lazy and unmotivated by their older peers. How hard must a young adult work before they are no longer labeled as a member of a "lazy generation"? I'm afraid we cannot magically grow older so that we are no longer affiliated with our own generation; yet, what we can do is continue to defy stereotypes and preconceived notions held by many in society. And in doing so, we can help many more realize our worth and contribution to the world as a whole.

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.


Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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Saying You "Don't Take Political Stances" IS A Political Stance

All you're doing by saying this is revealing your privilege to not care politically, and here's why that's a problem.


I'm sure all of us know at least one person who refuses to engage in political discussions - sure, you can make the argument that there is a time and a place to bring up the political happenings of our world today, but you can't possibly ignore it all the time. You bring up the last ridiculous tweet our president sent or you try to discuss your feelings on the new reproductive regulation bills that are rising throughout the states, and they find any excuse to dip out as quickly as possible. They say I don't talk about politics, or I'm apolitical. Well everyone, I'm here to tell you why that's complete bullsh*t.

Many people don't have the luxury and privilege of ignoring the political climate and sitting complacent while terrible things happen in our country. So many issues remain a constant battle for so many, be it the systematic racism that persists in nearly every aspect of our society, the fact that Flint still doesn't have clean water, the thousands of children that have been killed due to gun violence, those drowning in debt from unreasonable medical bills, kids fighting for their rights as citizens while their families are deported and separated from them... you get the point. So many people have to fight every single day because they don't have any other choice. If you have the ability to say that you just don't want to have anything to do with politics, it's because you aren't affected by any failing systems. You have a privilege and it is important to recognize it.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

We recognize that bad people exist in this world, and we recognize that they bring forth the systems that fail so many people every single day, but what is even more important to recognize are the silent majority - the people who, by engaging in neutrality, enable and purvey the side of the oppressors by doing nothing for their brothers and sisters on the front lines.

Maybe we think being neutral and not causing conflict is supposed to be about peacekeeping and in some way benefits the political discussion if we don't try to argue. But if we don't call out those who purvey failing systems, even if it's our best friend who says something homophobic, even if it's our representatives who support bills like the abortion ban in Alabama, even if it's our president who denies the fact that climate change is killing our planet faster than we can hope to reverse it, do we not, in essence, by all accounts of technicality side with those pushing the issues forward? If we let our best friend get away with saying something homophobic, will he ever start to change his ways, or will he ever be forced to realize that what he's said isn't something that we can just brush aside? If we let our representatives get away with ratifying abortion bans, how far will the laws go until women have no safe and reasonable control over their own bodily decisions? If we let our president continue to deny climate change, will we not lose our ability to live on this planet by choosing to do nothing?

We cannot pander to people who think that being neutral in times of injustice is a reasonable stance to take. We cannot have sympathy for people who decide they don't want to care about the political climate we're in today. Your attempts at avoiding conflict only make the conflict worse - your silence in this aspect is deafening. You've given ammunition for the oppressors who take your silence and apathy and continue to carry forth their oppression. If you want to be a good person, you need to suck it up and take a stand, or else nothing is going to change. We need to raise the voices of those who struggle to be heard by giving them the support they need to succeed against the opposition.

With all this in mind, just remember for the next time someone tells you that they're apolitical: you know exactly which side they're on.


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