Few generations have as bad of a reputation as millennials do, and yet we hardly deserve it. Millennials are here to step up to the plate, fix wrongdoings and save the world—likely all documented through Snapchat.
It seems like every day at least one baby boomer wakes up with what they think is a brilliant new take on what it means to be a young adult trying to make it in today’s world. Few have much empathy for us—a struggling group of individuals often dubbed “the unluckiest generation.”
We’ve never known a world without the Internet, can hardly remember a New York skyline without the devastating void left in September 2001 and spent some of our most important developmental years drenched in the overwhelming anxiety of a shattering economic recession.
Pew Research Center defines members of the millennial generation as those born between the years 1981 and 1997. Most people currently in college are millennials, and a quick walk through the Quad can dispel most myths about who we are as a collective.
On any given day the Quad is filled with the spirit of a generation that, despite being brutally disillusioned with conventional avenues of change, cares deeply for each other. It is not rare to spot students at the Stallions standing in solidarity with their marginalized neighbors, fighting together against what they believe to be injustices. Likewise, it is almost impossible to make your way to class and not catch a glimpse of Greek organizations enthusiastically fundraising for their respective charities.
For such a self-obsessed generation, these actions seem pretty unselfish to me.
On the other hand, we really are the “selfie generation.” We spend a lot of time on platforms like Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter broadcasting parts of our lives with the rest of the world, but there is nothing wrong with that. A selfie a day does wonders for your self-confidence.
The rise of social media and the globalization of communication have made it impossible for millennials to ignore what is happening around the world. From art and culture to the brutalities of war, our capacity for understanding and solidarity with people around the globe is bigger than it ever has been.
Even in our immediate communities, we are bridging empathy gaps daily. For instance, 43 percent of millennials in the United States are nonwhite, making ours the most diverse generation in America. According to the US Census Bureau, one-fourth of millennials speak a language other than English. Our understanding of diversity and cultural differences is highly impressive in comparison to generations that knew a world without the Internet.
Millennials are a group of individuals who have been let down again and again by the consequences of the neoliberal policies of Clinton and Reagan. We have taken a new approach to American individuality and, with help from the Internet, fused it with social collectivism, all while taking the blame for boomer creations like “participation trophies” we obviously weren’t handing out to ourselves as children.
Overall we may not have the greatest reputation, but I am confident we have what it takes to make this world one far better than what our parents left us. I am incredibly proud to be a millennial. The world is ours, and we intend to fix it.
– May Olvera is a journalism junior