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Stereotypes of Our Generation

Mikayla Kudron, Reporter

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If asked to describe the Millennial generation in one word, what would you say? Irresponsible? Immature? Innovated? Millennials is a term used to describe anyone born between 1980 and 1994, but the guidelines are fuzzy: some people born as late as 2004 are also considered a part of the generation. Most people tend to have a very high or low opinion of millennials. There are two main stereotypes regarding millennials: that of the unreliable young party goers, and the creative new minds of our future. Are either of those beliefs true?

It is a common belief that millennials are lazy, and a big part of this is because older generations compare the modern way of living to how they grew up. A well-known opinion, especially among older people, is that kids and young adults nowadays get everything handed to them, whereas they had to work for what they wanted as a kid. This can be supported by statistics, as well. According to a study conducted by the banking corperation Goldman Sachs, the number of people ages 18-34 who still live dependently with their parents has only gone up over the years. Also, more and more are putting off milestones such as marriage and parenthood for longer than other generation. However, is this really laziness? Some view it as a necessity. Housing prices have also risen throughout the years. Many millennials living with their parents view it as a temporary solution, to get themselves through college or the beginning of their new careers. When it comes to marriage, in today’s society most Americans weight educational success over social or marital success. According to thecut.com, over half Americans believe that marriage and parenthood are not very important in becoming an adult.

Also contrasting with the opinion that millennials are lazy is their view on health. In another data chart on goldmansachs.com, it was revealed that in general, millennials consider being healthy to be exercising and eating healthily, whereas baby boomers and generation x tend to see healthiness as not getting sick and being a proportional weight to one’s height. Obviously, all four things are very important, but this makes it appear as though millennials prioritize fitness and health in their everyday lives.

Another common stereotype about millennials is their addiction to technology, especially cell phones. This can be a bad thing, resulting in accidents and careless driving. According to CNN.com, 59% of millennials admitted to texting while driving while only 50% of Generation Xers (ages 35-45) and 29% of Baby Boomers (who are in their 60’s and 70’s) answered the same. Studies have also shown that many millennials expirience anxiety when they do not have access to a working cell phone. This is definitely a problem, as it can result in injury or death, but does it really reflect on poor judgement of millennials? Cell phones became common in the 1980s. The millennial generation encompasses anyone born between the year 1980 and 1994, so most millennials probably grew up with some form of a cell phone. The previous generation may have had some sort of cell phone when they were young, but nothing like the millennials had- this is unprecedented. Millennials grew up with cell phones, and this has made an impact on their behaviors and the way society views them now. Millennials’ dependence on cell phones merely seems extreme to so many people because they didn’t grow up the same way.

With the availability of information now, millennials and Generation Zers (usually referring to anyone born after the year 2002) are pushing to take charge. Many younger people have strong opinions, and they aren’t afraid to show them. Instead of waiting around for someone with authority to make a change, they do it themselves. In Rhode Island, students at Rhode Island College are starting a project to build the power of students. Millennials in Missouri are launching a campaign against homophobia and transphobia in schools. Students of the Los Angeles Valley College are fighting budget cuts so they can take the classes they want to take. Social media and their dependancy on it has become a good thing as well- many movements have a designated hashtag on social media, or an account used to gain followers of the idea.

The opinion that millennials are innovative thinkers who could change the world is far more accurate, though still not completely so. The majority of millennials when asked of their need for a car said they did not intend on buying one, with the second leading answer being that it was important, but not a priority. However, when asked about buying a house most said it was extremely important to do so. Could this be a new way of spending money? Most of the older generations owned a car as adults. Millennials however, are looking to spend their money in different ways. This new way of thinking could also be very good for the environment as people may walk, bike, carpool, or take a bus to work, emitting less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere daily.

So, are millennials lazy? Some are, of course. Will some millennials change the future? Absolutely. However, no real generalization can be made as the younger part of the millennial generation are barely even adults. The only conclusion we can really draw at this point, is that millennials are leading change everyday. Many of their behaviors and beliefs are unprecedented, at least on such a grand scale. We should be excited to see the changes they bring. Maybe before people jump to conclusions, millennials should be given the chance to show the world where their life decisions will take them

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Stereotypes of Our Generation