Calm down, millennials aren’t that bad

Shae Slaughter

Over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed that the term ‘millennial’ has gathered a negative connotation. Somehow, a generation that has barely begun its time as leaders has already been blamed as the cause of America’s downfall. Even though many of us are just on the precipice of adulthood we have already been told that we are entitled, lazy or undetermined. We’ve been told our political views are too liberal, that our goals are unrealistic and that our mindset has ruined our chances of success. This umbrella statement is wholly unfair and merely a belief perpetuated by older generations who have yet to understand the change.

Of course our generation is different than others, we were raised with advancing technology, different current events and a new culture. Like our parents who grew up dancing to Elvis and advocating peace and love much to the disapproval of their elders, we have also developed new ideologies that seem absurd. Selfies, hashtags, texting, oh my. For some reason, the novel ideas of our recent past have become a label explaining our shortcomings.

‘All of this social media use, it makes you superficial and self-absorbed.’ While those adjectives are likely applicable in some cases, how about acknowledging it can make us self-confident and well-connected? Social media is a growing field so it is better that we learn it now while we’re able.

‘The younger generations are just obsessed with money and fame.’ No, I don’t think so, I would say that we are merely obsessed with success which is not a negative. We grew up observing recessions, the house market failing and cases of terrorism. Is it a wonder we want to be secure financially?

‘You don’t know how to save money or else you could pay for college.’ I have tried paying for college and it is hard. So instead of spreading blame, how about noting the dramatic increase in college tuition in comparison to minimum wage within the recent years? Financial situations are no longer what they used to be, even full time employment doesn’t adequately cover the cost of tuition and living expenses.

‘Millennials have no work ethic, they think everything should be handed to them.’ That’s not the case. Maybe instead we have grown up in a country that’s as capable as the United States and therefore believe that the government should provide us with help like tuition assistance or healthcare. We don’t believe that we should be in debt up to our eyeballs before we’re even allowed to order a legal drink. Our work ethic hasn’t evaporated, it has adjusted in techniques and focused on different goals.

Say what you want about these attributes, but I think that all of these traits can reap positive benefits. Our new spin on life allows us to be more creative and throw tradition to the wind. Our detachment from old values allows us to be more than just a blue collar worker, but rather a contributing member to society in other ways as well. Our push towards education is leading to a more intelligent and well informed population, but it also makes us unwilling to settle for less.

Of course, these ideas don’t apply to all Millennials, some of them really do embody the negativity that we’re inexplicably connected to. However, a good majority of us are on the track to being successful just the way that our parents and grandparents were. We’re not all bad nor are we lazy or entitled. We are a product of the changing times, finding the Elvis of our generation one selfie at a time.