Twenty-somethings of today are unlike other twenty-somethings from earlier generations. Millennials as a generation have been under heavy criticism by the media and writers in the past few years. They claim we’re lazy and stupid, doing little for the world around us. Every time I come across one of these articles, my blood boils. These writers have no idea what it is like being a twenty-somethings today as most of them are from another generation. I am frustrated when others feel it is okay to comment on and demonize a whole generation or group of people reinforcing negative stereotypes. The criticizers of our generation have psychological and emotional effects on many millennials who read their articles, internalizing the negative messages. I know I have questioned my own “ambitions” because of these “expert” opinions. There are plenty of writers who speak positively when it comes to discussing millennials, but I feel more people are writing about doomed millennials and how we are causing havoc to our world.
The latest headlines about twenty-somethings read like ‘the me, me, me generation’ and ‘the overeducated, under employed generation.’ These are not the actual headlines from articles but the points made along these lines. Whenever these titles pop up on my newsfeed or on a website I’m reading, all I can think is ‘another one – when are they going to give up?’ It does not look like anti-millennials are giving up anytime soon. Should we be concerned about the negative press surrounding our generation?
I say yes – and here is why: We are inheriting corrupt institutions, politics and companies. We have more college loan debt than any other generation before us. Environmental destruction is a real thing we should all be concerned about. Life has become more expensive, but income wages have become stagnant and have decreased in many parts of the US. We are still fighting for civil rights, environmental justice and economic equality. All these issues affect twenty-somethings, but these writers disavow the twenty-somethings who are actively fighting against oppression for a more just world.
I’m a twenty-something – a twenty-three- year-old to be exact. I did what I was supposed to: I graduated high school, left college with honors, interned after graduation – not to mention volunteered and worked different jobs throughout my college career. After college, the plan was to go to graduate school – but as I got closer to finishing my degree, I could not commit to what I wanted to do. The college loans and not knowing what I wanted to do keep me from pursuing graduate school. I continue to work, volunteer, intern, take graduate classes and write to keep my resume fresh. For many twenty-somethings, the post-college reality is scary. We were promised jobs when we got out of college, but almost half of the graduating college students in the US are working jobs in which their degrees are not necessary.
On the upside, I have hope. I remain optimistic about millennials. I often have conversations about our generation with my friends and people I come into contact with. Many people seem pessimistic about us. They believe we are not going to do much with the world we have been given. I argue against this because I know more people in my generation who are activists, organizers, writers and change-makers than from the generation(s) before us. We have been given a world in which we see the need for change, such as the need for environmental justice and better human rights.
I truly believe the twenty-somethings of today are changing the world around us. We acknowledge the older way of living and are writing our own history – a history that is more socially responsible and takes people into account people from all walks of life with a commitment towards the preservation of our earth and all its inhabitants.