Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Millennials In The New Millennium

Are We That Bad?
By Brian Batista

We are a culture that is obsessed with labels. It seems like we can no longer hold a conversation without dropping the name of label that our society has placed on an object or subject. This is especially true of the terms “echo boomers” and “millennials”, a label modern society has placed on the future-those born between 1982 and 1995.

The children born in this era are now in their teen years and early twenties, thriving off hopes and dreams, dependency from their parents, instant gratification and text messaging. According to Steve Kroft, a correspondent for 60 Minutes, these elements of youth are making for a grim outlook for the future of American society. During his report, Kroft highlighted the faults of my generation, and why our current actions and lifestyles will not fully prepare us for the dark reality called life that is on the horizon.

As the report discussed my generation, it highlighted how we are too dependent on our parents, live off modern technology, take advantage of every activity offered to us, demand only the best, and expect a pat on the back at the end of the day, similar to the way our parents raised us as the report relieved.

Speaking to “millennials” about this report certainly raised several eyebrows. Diana Ramirez, 21, discussed how not all children have the resources to live off their parents. “I live with roommates, pay rent, work and attend school full time and manage to live a great lifestyle within my means”.

After moving from Boston to New York for school at 18, her parents stopped giving her financial support to teach her that leaving the family household means kissing all comfort and piece of mind of home life, goodbye.

“They explained that if I chose to come to New York for school, I would need to do it all myself, even if they had the means to support me through school. It may have to rough in the beginning, but it taught me to stand on my own two feet. I am confident that I will succeed in the future, without dependency,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez explained that this kind of bittersweet lesson taught by her parents has given her clarity about herself and what she hopes to achieve in the future. “I hit the ground running when I started college. I was not sure what I wanted to do with myself. Being responsible for other things aside from just myself helped me to discover what I want out of life,” she said.

Others feel that it is the full responsibility of parents to support their children as they attempt to succeed in life. However, even with the full support of parents, emotionally and financially, it puts a student between a rock and a hard place, unsure of what one wants to accomplish in life.

Steven Tillberis, 20, has always had full financial and emotional support from his parents. A student from New York University, he is starting to feel the crunch of real life, even before he graduates. “My parents support me, pay for mostly anything I need-clothes, food, cell phone and part of my tuition, with the rest of it coming from student loans” he said.

Even though Tillberis is taken care of in the financial section of his life, he feels he is lacking skills he needs to be able succeed in his career. “I’ve had internships, but that’s about it,” he said. “Since I feel like my parents should support me though college so I can focus on my education, I’m starting to feel like I am too dependent on my parents and life after graduation scares me. I may go back home to Texas after I finish, just because it’s the easiest, and safest, plan to fall back on.”

Two different students with two very different outlooks. This is what the future is holding for us, the determined and the unsure. A cycle that is no different from other generations when looking at it as a whole. The reasons why Ramirez and Tillberis believe we are being labeled “millennials” are the same reasons why the generation before us was referred to as “baby boomers.” People are always obsessed with youth culture because it can be documented from the start. The instant gratification attributed to our generation is in special thanks to our friend, technology. Without it, our society could not have progressed and become what it has today.

Can you really blame us for being born during a time when technology was created that would make our world easier for us to manage?

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