In Defense of the Millennial
It has become a sort of joke to make fun of young people, especially Millennials; which tends to mean myself. Technically though, I was born just after the ‘cut-off’ date to be considered a Millennial, although the date changes consistently. As such, I am a member of Generation Z, iGen, or the Postmillennial Generation. Despite this, I have grown up and come of age with the concept of the Millennial Generation being lazy, disrespectful, and destroying the world with their magical smartphones. Because of the slightly muddy definition of which age-ranges are grouped into which generation, I have become lumped into this concept of the useless Millennial. The older I become, the more I question this concept of the “lost generation.”
Many adults in my life have complained that Millennials are so much lazier than the Baby Boomers. From what I can understand from those who have said this, this idea stems from our general appearance of aloofness, which makes it appear as though we are just trying to get by and do not care about excelling in anything. However, I do not believe that this aloofness equals a lack of passion and laziness. Instead, I think we are far more strung-out, disillusioned, and exhausted than we are lazy. During my Sophomore year at college, I was working full time at a busy job while also trying to maintain a 4.0 and some notion of a social life. At one point, I was even working two jobs. I recall one day when I woke up in the early light of day, went to my first job in the morning, then went to my classes, and then spent the rest of my day at my second job. My performance at work suffered with every essay I wrote, and my test grades plummeted every time I worked a late shift. I grew distant from my friends because I did not have the time for anything leisurely.
It did not take long for my worldview to become incredibly disenchanted and soured. All my life, I had been told that college would be a time for pure pleasure, a time for fun and friends. However, this has never been my experience.
During the more rushed portions of being at university, my nights extend into the early daylight hours, my meals are filled with salty ramen noodles, and my days are spent bent over a desk. I have shared my frustrations with many of my friends and peers, and as such, I have found that a significant portion of them share this sentiment. For many of us, going to college has become a mess of work and bills too expensive to pay. A number of my friends and peers work full-time because there is no way to live in Boulder otherwise. So, perhaps it is true that we do not give our 100% percent to everything we do. How would that be possible?
There have been multiple times while in university that I have gotten physically ill due to stress, exhaustion, and a lack of care when it comes to my health. Some students even turn to alcohol, not for partying, but simply to get through their days. Some of my peers have even had nervous breakdowns or have developed severe mental issues because they are so stressed out. It is true that many students enjoy being at college, however, the more I talk to my peers, the less
common this seems to be. The party scene when it comes to college life is still very much prevalent, but I find that many of my friends and peers who choose to party do so solely to have a break from the chaos and frustration of their day-to-day lives.
The complainant that I have heard from many members of the older generation is that we are privileged and ungrateful, and this makes us lazy. I believe it is essential to admit that it is true that some young people fit this stereotype. The case of Ethan Couch, the twenty-one-year-old man who got off easy in court after killing four people while driving intoxicated and under the influence of drugs, comes to mind when thinking about this cliché of young people. Couch was legally diagnosed with the “Affluenza Disease,” which essentially meant that he was cursed with wealth and as such is too rich and privileged to be in prison. When the Ethan Couch situation reached its “peak,” it caused absolute outrage among people in my age range. It was a complete humiliation as well as a distortion of the already dysfunctional justice system. I felt that Couch gave all of us a bad name through his actions.
It is true that many young people are lazy, just as many members of older generations are lazy. Many of us are just overwhelmed and strung-out, which gives off the appearance of apathy. I know for a fact that in many of my classes I appear to be just trying to get by; because I am. A majority of the time, I am operating on only a few hours of sleep while trying to absorb as much information as humanly possible. There are days when I wander into the living room of my apartment to find some of my roommates still frantically trying to finish their homework at 1 AM. This situation extends to many of my friends; they have no free time whatsoever. Indeed, as the school year goes on, I find myself in this very scenario. However, the fact of the matter is that the older generation will think whatever they will of us, and I doubt I can change their mind. However, many of these stereotypes appear to have been created from the phenomenon of looking at us from the outside and never attempting to find out what is honestly happening. Perhaps if there was a more significant effort made to get to know us, we could all understand each other better.