Loosely defined as those born between 1980 and the early 2000s, the millennial generation is one of the biggest age groups in America. According to the National Public Radio, there are more millennials than baby boomers in the U.S. The millennial generation is also the most racially diverse; according to the Pew Research center, 43% of the millenials are non-white. Despite its size and diversity, millenials as a whole are labeled as shallow, narcissistic, addicted to technology, rude,and irresponsible.
To a certain degree, some of these stereotypes are valid. Many millenials rely heavily on phones and computers. They seek instant gratification and get impatient when videos fail to load. They feel as if they are missing out on important news and updates when they do not have their phones. Sometimes, their dependence on technology has taken away what it means to be connected with other individuals and to “live in the moment,” like when people record concerts on their phones to post on Youtube later.
“It isn’t fair to call the Y Generation the only ones ‘addicted to technology.’ Our parents have laptops and smartphones too. People seem to think we are more ‘addicted’ because we are growing up with technology. But our parents generally use it as much and sometimes even more than we do,” Sophomore Rayna Mehta said.
On social media, likes on Facebook, Instagram or any other mediums make users feel good. The number of likes that someone receives often correlates with their self-worth. It causes users to spend some extra time editing photos to share with others in hopes that it will be appealing enough to obtain more likes, shares, and comments. Some popular Instagram accounts have been targeted as serial photoshoppers, not only applying several filters to their photos but also significantly altering their physical appearances.
“I personally think that technology is a useful tool that allows people to be connected to one another. In the olden days, I’m sure people had their pictures painted the way that they wanted to see themselves, the same way we edit our own photos to make something more appealing,” Senior Nitika Chellappa said.
In addition, the millenials are labeled as irresponsible and lazy kids. CBS News posted an article by Alanna Peterkin, a self-made store owner, titled “I Can’t Find a Good Employee from Generation Y.” Peterkin attacked the millenials as lazy, spoiled, over-privileged and untalented. These condemnations were based on interviewing only 60 people. However, an entire generation (56 million people) cannot be defined by a select few who have made a bad impression.
Furthermore, when comparing the millenials with the baby boomers, many aspects are radically different. For one, this generation is more liberal – millenials stand up for same-sex marriages, legalization of marijuana and many other social issues. In terms of the economy, we have and still suffer from the impacts of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and an extremely competitive job market – especially for recent college graduates. In 2014, researchers from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York concluded that it has essentially become much more difficult for a college graduate in recent years to find a good job. On top of a cutthroat job market, college tuition has increased throughout the past decades, forcing college students to take on tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars of debt.
“I think adults label us because they see a lot of aspects in us that they don’t understand. So, when they see that we have different perspectives on certain ideas, they tend to quickly judge us because they don’t understand our position. But in the same way, we don’t always understand previous generations either,” Sophomore Alice Zhang said.