By, Chloe Rudnicki | Opinion Editor
September 11, 2015
In the dictionary, the millennial is defined as a person whose birth is sandwiched somewhere between 1980 and 2000. The word is a scientific classification, more than anything. But what does it represent? What is the soul today’s young adults? Simply, who are we?
Outside media harbors negative stereotypes when considering the millennials. Lazy, detached, doomed by a crumbling society: the millennial is picked to pieces as an inept part of a generation incapable of reversing its fortune. The outside world, however, fails to look past their distorting pessimism and truly see the soul of the millennial. The outside fails to look at each individual. The outside fails to consider the collective ability of a group of young people, who like themselves, have ambition and ability.
The millennial has a distinct culture, a distinct identity that transcends the brittle dictionary definition and the confusion and detachment of those looking in.
Chandler Horton, a sophomore, takes a pause when asked about what she wants to see change in the world. “I want to allow underprivileged kids to have more opportunities to succeed in the world since many of them are more capable and motivated than the average well-to-do kid and they deserve the same chance(s).” When asked how she would like to make an impact, she says that she wants to join the Peace Corps when older and continue her current volunteer work.
Ashlee Atkins, another student, railed against gender inequality and said she wanted to use her leadership skills to help those confronting adversity. Among students, there is a general theme of wanting to do good in the world and embrace oft-neglected factions of society. Idealism and compassion are identifying characteristics of this school’s brand of millennial and suggest a future in which great strides will be made in the ongoing battle against systematic inequality.
This contradicts the general perception of the millennial as detached from the world around them and instead emphasizes their self-awareness. This generation sees what is unjust with the world and strives to use their individual talents to challenge the establishment. Millennials value a logical, clear cut world uncomplicated by injustice, proving their regard for both transparency and the advocacy of equal rights.
Technology has served as a catalyst for genuine global revolution and is one of the factors that shapes millennials. Overall, this generation has become “less human” and dependent. Students acknowledged the dangers of an all powerful institution such as that of technology, with Horton remarking that “its potential is kind of scary in a way because most people are already completely dependent on technology” and comments on its encouragement of entitlement and immediate gratification.
Meanwhile, Ariana Winsten, a fellow sophomore SCHS student, expressed doubts with its potential for genuine good when she commented that, “It has no power to stop people from doing horrible things”, suggesting a slight pessimism directed more at human nature than its creations.
A distinguishable majority nonetheless felt that technology is a tool that can wield healthy growth, especially in its unification of the world and the advancement of fields of education. Therefore, it is revealed that love and faith in technology is indeed not a unifying factor of all millennials. However, this generation does tend to be more open to change and views the world as less defined by national and cultural boundaries than older generations who are relatively unacquainted with the Internet Age and resulting global connection.
The millennial prefers to transcend artificial barriers and blend lines and cultivate power into a means of eliminating disparity in all aspects of life. Technology, at the hands of innovative and optimistic millennials with a keen understanding of the electronic world, could very well be the means of achieving this dream.
In a world in which perception is just as powerful, if not more so, than truth, it is vital to provide an accurate reflection of humankind as it progresses from generation to generation. The millennial is a person of great complexity and one who, shaped by tumultuous times, has helped spear the evolution of society towards what youth believe to be most vital: a happy and fulfilling life for everyone regardless of differences.
After careful analysis of students within school walls, the millennial (at least of the SCHS variety) can be better defined as a self-aware, progressive humanitarian whose shrewd disillusionment of the world has refined their ambitions and ideals. This student body and their fellow millennials scattered across the globe are eager to bring change to this world and make this definition, one of soul and intimacy, the one people remember.
So that’s who we are.