I am a millennial.
Let’s get something straight: this idea that “millennials” are some curious breed so vastly different from other humans/Homo sapiens is simply a myth, a story the previous generations tell themselves to separate us from them. We possess the same assortment of individuals that have existed in past generations. We have the slackers and the honor students, the nerds and the jocks, conservatives and liberals and just about every other clique they had. Now, let’s dissect some of the myths surrounding us millennials.
Myth #1: We’re lazy. Many people, mostly those who came before us, seem to look down on us. They call us the entitled generation, say that we don’t work hard for anything, that we are nothing but superficial and only care about ourselves. However, the truth is in fact the opposite. We have been dealt a hand by a generation of people who have just been trying to benefit themselves. We have inherited a world of runaway climate warming and an economy that stands on the brink of catastrophe. While our “selfies” make people “lose faith in humanity,” the immense weight of spiraling college tuition and the burden of student loans make us “lose faith in humanity.”
A TBR 2015 Millennial Essay Contest winner
College used to mean lots of parties and finding oneself; now it means crippling student debt and too much stress. We work just as hard as our parents and grandparents did, often only to get a lesser paying job than they had when they started out.
Myth #2: Technology is ruining us. It is no secret that these past 20 years have witnessed what can be argued as the greatest amount of technological advancement. We went from having giant phones in our luxury vehicles to having phones smaller than my index finger and mini computers that barely fit in my pocket. While billions of people have been alive to observe such tech evolution, we as millennials have been born into it; it has essentially been forced upon us. Some say this is a bad thing. I say otherwise.The tools we need to learn to adapt to ever-changing technology improve our capacities as critical thinkers and require skills that we could never get through school alone. People claim that we lose our personal connection to others because of the time we spend on our computers and phones. Again, I believe the opposite is true. I have friends who live all across the world. I can look at their Facebook pages and see how college or life is going from them. Just the other day I was playing a videogame with a friend who lives across the country and we were chatting away just as if we were in the same room. People in long distance relationships can set up Skype dates and see one another’s faces. Technology is bringing people together, not pulling them apart.
Myth #3: “You’re destroying the sanctity of this country!” My generation is that of the “social justice warriors.” Whereas political protest once took place with boots on the ground, my generation has shifted the frontlines to such sites as Tumblr and Facebook. Blogging has taken the place of picket lines. With a security net of anonymity, political dissent has grown rampant across the country. From Photoshopped pictures of cats to the spreading of popular “hashtags” such as #Ferguson or #YesAllWomen, liberal protest has never been prevalent. Never have the youth of this nation possessed such immense power to challenge the current social order.
When the U.S. media failed to shed light on the events happening in Ferguson, Mo., we millennials stepped in to fill the holes. We did things as simple as posting tweets and as intense as funding organizations to provide gas masks to the protestors in Ferguson. Regardless of your political affiliation, it simply cannot be denied that we millennials possess the capabilities to enact true and meaningful change. Many people are afraid of us. They see the change we have brought to issues such as gay marriage and therefore presume that we are in some way ruining this country. Maybe they are right, maybe they are not. But they are right to fear the power we now possess. For every protester arrested there will be a trending hashtag that will give rise to two more. No longer will people sit idly by as injustices occur across the nation. We are a generation of actors and we will change the world.
We have been born into a unique and precarious time. We have witnessed the development of the internet and the destruction of the Twin Towers on 9/11. The decisions we make, and the responsibilities we are about to inherit will determine the course of history. So go ahead: mock our selfies and our Snapchats, laugh at our white chocolate mochas and our Facebook pages, but make no mistake, we are here and you will just have to deal with us.
We are the millennials.
The views and opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of Boise State University, the Center for Idaho History and Politics, or the School of Public Service.