Quite often recently, I have heard people call the millennial generation “lazy,” “entitled” and “spoiled.” As a millennial myself, I admit to being a little biased, but to me, this generalization of millions of people seems a bit unfair.
First of all to clarify, millennials are people born between the years 1980 and 2000 — this is a group of people ranging from high school students, to those graduated and well invested in their careers.
We are a generation who is reprimanded for our work habits, ridiculed for “starting our lives” later than previous generations, and for, in short, being more narcissistic. While of course there are outliers of people to every group, I have to argue that there are many millennials who do not fit this stereotype. And for those who do fit the stereotype, there is more reason behind it than just them being “lazy” or “unmotivated.”
Due to the rising debt and costs of living in America, younger generations are forced to pay higher prices than in the past. College tuition has skyrocketed: according to collesavings.org, college costs are increasing at about 7% every year. Young adults are trying to obtain an education to get into a good career, yet these same people who want to better themselves, must later face the hefty prices of student debt.
This statistic does not discredit the hard work and student debt that older generations had to also face, yet with a steady increase in education costs, it is no surprise that many millennials are opting out of obtaining a high degree because they simply cannot afford it.
According to npr.org, two-thirds of millennials aged 25-32 do not have a bachelor’s degree. Some older generations may see this overwhelmingly large statistic to be an indicator of a “lazy” or “unmotivated” generation, but as a college student myself, I see this number as a representative of high-priced college costs and a group of people who do not want student debts.
Other than our “less than desirable” education rates, we are also often referred to as the generation who is ““narcissistic.” Honestly, when I scroll through my social media feeds I understand it — most of us love to post photos of our lives, our achievements, and ourselves. But millennials have known nothing other than this lifestyle.
We have grown up in a technological world where we are well accustomed to having everything just a click away — including social media. We love to post about our lives and what we are up to because social media is integrated into everything we know. Millennials were raised with “gold stars” from their teachers, participation ribbons in sporting events, likes on social media — maybe we are just acclimated to receiving constant praise because it was the way we were raised.
As a millennial who surrounds myself predominately with other millennials, I must argue that our proclaimed “self-centered” lifestyle does not resonate in all aspects of ourselves. I know so many young people who actively volunteer, frequently donate to those in need and even have humanitarian careers. We may be more individualistic and self-interested than previous generations in some ways, but I think we are also very politically and socially active.
We are a generation who wants more equality, social and political justice and a generation who understands that we need to pull together to make a change.
Maybe, overall, we are lacking in some areas, but it seems unfair to put all of the blame on millennials and not on the previous generations that raised us. Millennials need to pull together to fight these stereotypes and show the world that we are more than our statistics.