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Fighting against the dirty "M" word

Every generation has a name, and every generation deals with criticism from the generations before.

Those of us born after 1980 are called Millenials, and I am so sick and tired of hearing that word.

The word itself literally refers to being born and raised around the turn of the millennium; nothing wrong with that.

But when I hear the name “Millenial,” I picture a self-centered kid wearing headphones and a hoodie, head down,totally focusedon whatever meaningless social media message he or she is about to post via smartphone.

Unfortunately,this is the samestereotype many 30-plus year olds picture as well.

As a graduating senior, this has a huge effect on me, because almost all employers are over 30 years old. Fortunately, Millenials are the up- and-coming employee pool, whether employers like it or not.

To be fair, we earned this stereotype — in part. We love social media and apps like Trivia Crack, and at times we take them way too far.

As someone who just got her first smartphone over Christmas break, I can understand the irritation when people are on their phones instead of spending quality time together at dinner.

That being said, we Millenials are not just a bunch of self-centered, socially ignorant, callous, degenerate technology addicts.

We have dreams and passions. No, I don’t know what I will be doing a year from now. While ultimately I will have to factor in geography and salary when I accept a job offer, I care much more about whether my work will make a real impact.

We care about people. Just think about the many mission trips, CoSMO groups and honors projects that reach out into the world in a loving way.

No one is forcing us to do any of that. No one is guilting us into it. There is no self-gratifying reason to do it. We do it because we genuinely care and we want to make a difference.

We are driven, and we arehard workers. One of my biggest frustrations is when someone over30 tells me my generation has never had to work for anything or has never experienced hardship.

Everyone has experienced pain, loss, struggle and difficulty in life. The main difference between us and everyone else is we have only had 20 years worth of it, compared to their 30 plus. And as for hard working, I know very few people who can “afford” to go to college. We worked extra hard in high school to get scholarships, our families have sacrificed to help us and most of us will spend half of our careers paying off the rest.

I know many people who work extra hours here at school on top of full course loads, because we needthe money and experience, but more importantly because we are passionate about these opportunities.

And that accursed technology we always have our noses in? We know how to use it to learn about worldwide social issues, promote important causes and build healthy businesses.

We are Millenials. We are no better or worse than any other group of people born in a particular decade. Our struggles, our failings, our strengths are simply different from those before us and those after us.

So, the next time someone rolls their eyes about “this generation,” remind them what their parents’ generation had to say about them.

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