This summer, Leesville students gear up for graduation, job applications, and college transcripts. Millions of other secondary and tertiary students share the same experiences and stresses.
They belong to Generation Y, also coined “Millennials” or Echo Boomers. Neil Howe and William Strauss, well-renowned demographers, coined the term in 1991 and went on to write several books about this generation. About 90 million Americans born between 1981 and 2000 make up the demographic group.
Millennials are less likely to find a decent job than the preceding generation. The 16-19 demographic group face a 21.8 percent jobless rate, and 13.3 percent among the 20-24 cohort.
Millennials are the generation of youth outreach and organization. Most of us have involvement in municipal youth groups, sports league, and student organizations.
Millennials are connected more than ever. Technology and mobile interfaces surround people 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They diversified the internet, making it a social experience. Some even went on to create Social Media platform, Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook. Inc is one famous example. Hundreds of millions of young people are connected worldwide.
Millennials are the generation of many cultural exchanges; we share a videos online and exchange messages within a bit of a second. They create a new fashion or musical fads that last only weeks.
Millennials are the victims of a failing education system and the stagnant incomes from jobs. The meteoric rise of college tuition and loans are permanently indebting us. Pell Grants fail to cover costs. We are getting less support from our government to pay for an adequate education.
For Millennials, The 9-11 terrorist attacks was a memorable childhood experience. Twelve years have passed, still, many reflect upon that fateful day. Some witnesses of the event even went on to serve overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan, staying loyal to esteemed missions of the military.
MIllennials were taught to stand up for themselves. In the wake of increased competition among the workplace, academia, and competing leagues, many were encouraged to outperform their peers. The parents, self coined, “soccer moms” or “helicopter parents” placed countless hours upon placing their kids in the best academic programs, helping them through school, and pushing towards athletic achievement.
With soaring college loans, increased unemployment, and the holding off of marriage, young adults find increasing convenience returning to their childhood home. While it is a convenient way of saving money and staying connected with family; many fear that it discourages them from pursuing self sufficiency. The meaning of “adult” is no longer fixed.
Millennials are underrepresented in the political process. Apathy and disappointment of our political structure has discouraged younger voters from going to the polls. According to the Census Bureau, only 41 percent of individuals 18-24 voted in the 2012 election.
Millennials are overwhelmingly liberal; they experienced the momentous historic 2008 election where the first black president was elected. According to Pew Research, there was a 30 point gap in favor of Democrats between the 18-29 demographic and the over 65 demographic.
Millennials feel alienated by the partisan politics of their representatives; politicians spend more time and energy campaigning rather than listening and legislating. Young people are openly expressive; protests and movements including “Occupy Wall Street” movement and self coined “Ron Paul revolution, resulted from youth vigor. Both movements desired to eliminate corporate induced polices.
Millennials are gentrifying and reviving our deprived inner cities, bringing creativity, innovation, and culture back into previously neglected neighborhoods. The arts scene is more vibrant than ever. People are flocking to new lofty apartments and rejuvenated warehouses.
Millennials are the first-hand witnesses of an ailing global economy, increased competition, and cultural globalization.
As nearly 100 million baby boomers and succeeding X’ers retire, more funding and payment for social security is needed. As the public debt continues to soar nearly a trillion dollars a year, much of the burden will be placed upon younger taxpayers. Can we pay for their welfare? Time will tell of the availability for social security. If trends continue, however, social security may become more of a privilege, rather than a guarantee. The consequences are yet to come; however, more awareness is needed.
The increasing globalization and diversification of society as a whole breeds new ideas from those of different cultures, upbringings, and values. Millennials are striving to make society more integrative and open minded. As the new face of leadership, Millennials strive to alter and improve upon traditional ethics and values, to adapt to the increasing inclusiveness of society. New ideas and creativity will create a better world as we know it.