The Real Millennials

Generation Perception

HERE WE GO!!!

Narcissistic, entitled, lazy... These are all words associated with the millennial generation. The Millennials are often perceived negatively, but, perhaps, the most accurate word to describe them is misunderstood. Are they all horribly rude and self-centered? No! Do they have flaws? Yes. But, there is so much more to this revolutionary generation than meets the eye! So who are they really? Let's find out!
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Me

I belong to the controversial generation of the Millennials. This means that I will be biased (so bear with me), but it also means that I will be able to give you insight that you may have never experienced before!
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Stereotypes

I know what you're thinking. "You little whippersnappers are vain, addicted to technology, and entitled! I know I'm not making that up! Back in my day..." Well before I delve deeper into my older generation stereotypes, I hope you can see that everyone experiences being judged; I just stereotyped you, for example. Now, I know that you don't start every story with "back in my day," but this is one of many possible examples to show that stereotypes are often wrong, apply only to a few individuals of the whole, or are an exaggeration of the truth. It's time to clear up the controversy.

Controversy

If you have ever noticed how us kids are seemingly glued to our phones, then you aren't alone. However, I am sure that you have also noticed some adults who have also adopted a technological companion of their own. I don't deny that phones and social media have almost escalated to the level of being an addiction and are a large part of modern culture, but this technological addiction applies to many more people than just the Millennials. Also, there are many individuals who are judged without even being a part of this recent behavior and have even become victims of it.


SPONTANEOUS ANECDOTE! I got my smartphone in the middle of junior year and hated it because 1) it didn't actually work, and 2) I am one of few that didn't like texting people. I still don't have social media accounts and don't often look at my phone. However, I have been in conversations with my dad where, in the middle of a conversation where I try to tell him something personal or important, he pulls out his phone and (not only looks at the text but) starts texting! The main point of this is to show that behavior seen as rude or addictive is not limited to the Millennials; all ages of people are using technology in everyday life and contributing to its increasing popularity in modern culture.


Another negative association to the Millennial Generation is our tendency to be narcissistic. First of all, I would be lying if I said it absolutely wasn't true, but I would also be lying if I said it absolutely was. Have you ever made a selfish decision? Have you ever complained about a life problem? Have you ever spent so long in the bathroom trying to fix your hair and look nice that a family member had to knock on the door to ask if you were still alive? No matter who you are, you have made choices that benefit yourself. Now, everyone is self-interested to one degree or another, and being concerned for yourself and your safety is just human nature - a simple survival mechanism. However, it is easy to assume that the Millennials are more narcissistic. Well, some of us definitely are, but (as always) there are those who are an exception. But, are we really more self-centered than all of the generations before us? One could argue that it may only seem like we are more self-interested. Sure, when someone has to post on social media every time they eat a salad or has a library of selfies on their profile, it would be easy to think that the person with all of that stuff is most likely the I'm-the-center-of-the-universe type. The problem is that never before has it been so easy for someone to tell others what they are up to, and maybe this is not as much narcissism as it is a way for the Millennials to express themselves. Older generations could have always been just as self-concerned, but didn't have such a public medium to show it.


JUST FOR THE RECORD: Put yourself in a hypothetical situation. If you grew up with technology and in a society that already valued people mainly on their appearances, don't you think that both of those things instilled into your young and malleable mind would have an impact on you? (Don't lie, of course it would!) The point is, understanding Millennials calls for an understanding of the time period and society that shaped us from a young age. We did not ask to become addicted to technology at a young age or want to be taught to be self conscious of ourselves since we were the age of five by the society around us. However, this is the sad reality for us that not even we are happy about. Changes are that you would end up very similar to our generation if you grew up under similar circumstances; so, just for the record, not all the blame can be placed on us for acting the way we do - there are valid reasons for it. Hopefully, this hypothetical situation helps you have a better understanding and more empathy for the flaws of the Millennials (It may also help you understand the flaws of Modern culture - I'm looking at you Apple Company and photo shopped celebrities).


Entitlement is undeniably another trait of our generation. But can you really blame us? We grew up in a world where acceptance and equality were all the rage. Learning about the rights that we have, being told that we are special, seeing a world with so much potential, and having so much more access to information from all over the world than any generation before us - it opens up a person's mind to say the least. Feeling too entitled is a problem (that, again, is not limited to the Millennial generation alone), and it is not difficult to find those who want rewards without working for them. However, I see it a little differently than outsiders looking in.


OKAY, I HAVE ONE WISH LEFT MAGIC GENIE, SO LET'S MAKE IT A GOOD ONE! (I spent my other two wishes on an iPhone 6 and a selfie stick (just kidding), so I have one more left!)If I had one wish, I would wish that other generations would view our entitlement as, not an issue but, a symbol of progress. From what I understand, "Children should be seen, not heard," and, "Respect your elders" were popular sentiments. Parents taught respect, sure, but they also taught that younger people, perhaps, do not have as much value. However, I know that you AND younger generations have a lot to offer the world, and (with the help of growing up with democratic ideals) learning to think for oneself rather than blind disobedience (which history has shown us can be very, very dangerous) is actually admirable. I wish that older generations could see that maybe our entitlement and defiance is actually a display of mutual respect between younger and older generations. I find this type of equality very progressive, as both people can learn something from the other and understand the other's point-of-views like never before. I really do enjoy older and younger people being on equal footing because I know that all people (even younger people) have something to offer, and adult superiority used to close the doors for so many opportunities for understanding one another. However, I will admit that others do not use entitlement as progressively, though I can understand that as well because I, myself, have wondered why it is that people have to work so hard and suffer so much in life (I know that that is "the way it is," but I wonder "WHY? Why don't we do something to change that?" because I think it is possible for people to make something of their lives without having to suffer. I have seen how people can work very hard their whole lives and still never get what it is that they wanted. But, I digress... The point is, if I thought that an attitude of entitlement would help me reach my goals without having to go through the life process that inspired "Life is hard" and "Life isn't fair" I would be tempted to be entitled. To simplify, if you could get something for nothing wouldn't you want to? If all you had to do was change your attitude in life to get what you want, wouldn't you want to?) A final point is that entitlement can actually be a very good thing. In the past, for example during the time of the Industrial Revolution, factory owners would employ many people, including women and children. Not a problem, right? Well, problems arose when people had to work for hours and hours for mediocre wages under unsanitary and dangerous conditions. It took unions formed by workers to stop the abuse. In this scenario, workers who knew that they didn't deserve to be treated so badly worked together to change society for the better. The same thing applies to Millennials. I wish that older generations could be proud of the Millennials because we are a generation that doesn't tolerate abuse, could change society for the better because of it, and have the ability to see potential in the world where many others don't. (Did you get all that Genie? No? Fine, I wish for a bunch of money - I deserve it! (just kidding).

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Okay, I admit it:

Sure, we harbor our narcissists, phone addicts, and lazy entitled people. We even admit as a whole that we can be distracted, complacent, apathetic, naive, distracted, and take things for granted. But, what it really comes down to is that every generation, every group of people, every individual will be flawed in some way or another. We have our bads, but we have our goods, too. Maybe it's time to take a more positive outlook on our generation. After all, we have some pretty great traits, and we could even change the world for the better. You never know! So, what is it that makes us special? What could possibly be redeemable about our generation? Well, here is how we want to be perceived:
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Accepting, Inclusive, and Open-Minded

We are helping the fight that asserts that we are all equals! We accept the LGBTQ community, all races, all religions, and your average Joe. We are bringing the world closer together and driving discrimination farther away!

Informed

We will talk to you about politics, religion, education reform, current events, social trends, or whatever else because never before has a generation had access to so much information (especially at such a young age)!

Creative and Expressive

We share our opinions and ideas with the world. We also use art forms from social media, to music, to dance, and much more to express ourselves like no generation before us has done. Through art, we open communication with people from all over the world and call attention to the feelings or ideas of modern day society!

We Are Potential Leaders

We are young which means that we have a lot of potential that is not noticed and not yet realized. We are positive, hopeful, curious, resourceful, determined, accepting, and independent which sounds like good leader material to me! Our outside-of-the-box views and lives make us pretty unique and pretty progressive, too!

Adaptive, Efficient, and Supportive

We have used technology to our advantage. Over the years we have adapted to society and technology to turn ourselves into efficient researchers and workers, but have also become a community. Through social media we support other people by commenting and liking things, we share ideas, and are connected to one another like other generations aren't.

Caring and Understanding

Once again, our access to other people's ideas has helped us. Instead of being one-sided, and only ever being exposed to one side of a story, we can see and understand all point-of-views! I think that exposure and experience allows us to be more empathetic to situations we wouldn't have otherwise understood.

"Knowledge is Power"

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As I explained from the beginning, there is much more to the Millennial Generation than meets the eye! Hopefully you have a more positive, or at least a more understanding, outlook on the Millennial Generation.

Thank you for reading!!!