Columnist considers the unfair stereotype for the youth of today

By Ally Melnik, ’18

Millennial—the term has been frequently tossed around to indicate the youth of today. According to USA Today, a millennial is classified as anyone born between 1982 and 2004. We’ve often been classified by news sources as unreliable and lazy. Since we grew up in the age of the Internet, generations before us assume we require everything to be fed to us on a silver spoon. While some millennials truly might be lazy, our whole generation doesn’t possess this curse; I consider many millennials to be hard workers rather than inactive.

When millennials were born, authors Neil Howe and William Strauss wrote a book called “Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation.” In it, millennials were predicted as being like the generation that fought in World War II—one characteristic including “highly involved in the community.”

In Time Magazine, a statistic showed that only 60 percent of people under 20 in the 2000s wanted a high-responsibility job, compared to 80 percent in the 1990s. In The Atlantic, a poll said that millennials were less likely to want a job that was helpful towards others.

What happened between the two paragraphs above that allowed everyone to misunderstand the stereotypical millennial?

I can’t argue for everyone, but in my instance and some of my close friends, we’re all anxiety-ridden and working our hardest every day. I know too many people that get home from extracurriculars or jobs late at night and still have to work on schoolwork, not going to bed until one in the morning. That doesn’t sound lazy to me.

A survey conducted by Project: Time Off, an organization dedicated to changing American work behavior, showed that four in ten people that are considered “work martyrs” are millennials. A work martyr is defined as someone who believes they shouldn’t take time off from work (or school in our case) because they feel guilty. In addition, half of millennials thought it was good to be seen as a work martyr, once again proving that they aren’t lazy.

Our generation has an undeniable mix of personalities. There are some millennials who truly are inactive and don’t want anything to do with the greater good. But I also know that many students fall under the non stereotypical category of millennials—hard workers. To those students I applaud you for proving the Gen Xers and the Baby Boomers wrong. We are their future, whether they like it or not, and we need to show them how much more we are than lazy. Show them that their future will not only be safe in our hands, but will also thrive.