As college students, we’re sure most of us have heard complaints from our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles about their concerns of leaving the world in the hands of millennials. Millennials are constantly criticized for using our phones too often, having too much of a presence on social media, and being ill-prepared to enter the work world because many of us are considered “spoiled.” However, what many older generations fail to realize is that while these may be traits that define our generation, they don’t mean our generation is destined for failure — they just mean we’ll find success in a different way than our predecessors.
Before we dig into the topic of “millennials,” it is important to understand the hesitation in using a word coined for our generation, specifically those individuals born between 1982 and 2000, to make sweeping generalizations about our priorities and technological upbringing. We constantly hear the term thrown around by our parents and adult figures in our lives, perpetually belittling our “participation-trophy” generation for not doing enough to clean up the mess handed down to us from Generation X. To us, the best comparison we can come up with is that of former President Barack Obama in 2008 during the Great Recession, which was blamed on his inability to lead the country. Yet many forget the tremendous amount of debt his former, George W. Bush, placed onto the country.
Furthermore, on the topic of social media, while our generation is certainly the most active on platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat, this doesn’t have to be seen in a negative light. It simply means that we’re different consumers of information than previous generations. While our parents relied on newspapers to learn the current events happening in the world around them, millennials have taken to Twitter and the Internet in general to get their daily news. Due to this change in media platforms, our generation is able to consume much more information on a regular basis than ever before, which has in turn caused us to become more skeptical consumers, because we’ve been taught to trust certain sources over others. With the growth of the Internet and social media, millennials are exposed to more sources, causing us to be more informed of today’s happenings.
So while the argument that millennials are a very different generation than Generation X is valid, it shouldn’t be used to argue that our generation is destined for failure. Each generation prior to ours has been different than the one before it, so why should millennials be considered any differently? Ultimately, no one will know whether or not millennials will be successful for years, so why don’t we all stop doubting the fruitfulness of our generation and just see how this new herd of increasingly informed consumers will shape the world in the years to come?