What can be said about my generation lies somewhere in the spectrum between comedic and pathetic, and I’m starting to think people have the assumption it is the latter.
It is us- the misunderstood teens and twenty- somethings that will inevitably control the world when our parents are in nursing homes and our children are high school, probably feeling the same way about their generation as we do now about ours.
While I have read so much about how our generation is a sign of the declination of humanity, or how nobody has faith in our mindless generation of narcissistic, shallow beings- I can’t help but to be bewildered by all of the negativity towards Generation Y- the most educated and open minded generation in all of human history.
It’s nearly impossible not to recognize the claims made by those who criticize Generation Y- we feel self-entitled; we are conceited, we have the shortest attention spans of any human beings ever created, we were handed everything to us on a silver platter- practically spoon-fed the idea that we are the brightest, most talented bunch out there. And do we believe it? Of course we do.
While humility and the attention span to actually open a book and read it cover to cover may not be the strong suit of our generation, I think the very underlying “signs” of the failure of our generation is exactly what is going to bring us into success. Yes, maybe our parents did tell us that we were “special” so much so that we actually believe it- but that is exactly why our generation is not going to settle for anything less than the best. We are competing with the other millions of millenials out there, which practically forces us to sink or swim, and none of us have any intention of sinking. We don’t just strive for success, we believe that there is no other option- because that’s what our parents told us right? That we can do anything?
For us millenials, going to college is just as much the norm as is having a student loan debt that is higher than our entry level salaries. Universities are expected to award over 1.8 million bachelor’s degrees during the 2013-14 school year, and by 2020, millennials will be 50 percent of the U.S. workforce and 40 percent of the U.S. electorate, whether the country is ready or not. We might be overeducated and underemployed, but regardless, we are the future- a frightening concept that the 40 somethings, or 50- somethings have yet to realize.
In a way, I feel like we have been condemned for failure by those who are unwilling to accept the idea that starting with Generation Y- the world will be a place of intense social change. With all of the new technological advancements and outlets of communication, it is nearly impossible to deny that practically everyone’s ideas are out there for public display. The internet is flooded with people telling you how to act or what to think, and buy- and the overwhelming majority of people who actively listen to these ideas? Generation Y. Our generation has become a force without even knowing it.
The members of Generation Y, are sort of like a mosaic of traits that often seem incompatible. We have unparalleled optimism despite growing up at a time when students were gunning down other students and terrorists were crashing planes into buildings. We have grown up into an era with so much wrong with the world- but we have never been so anxious to change it.
Our generation has proven to the world that we no longer fit into a mold of thinking which was created by our parents. We are nicknamed “Generation Y-not?” because we’re okay with gay marriage, we’re okay with interracial dating- we are the most progressive generation in all of mankind, and undoubtedly, that scares people. Rather than convince the critics, I think it is more important to inform the other millennials about their place in society-because whether the world is ready or not- Generation Y is ready to make history.
The inspiration from this article came from TIME magazine’s article “The Me, Me, Me Generation” by Joel Stein. The PDF version is found here.