Ignore generational distinctions; unite with other generations

Mercury Bowen, Staff Reporter

Too often, young adults are forced to overcome the distinction inflicted upon us because of our age.

No longer simply a classification, the term “Millennial” has become a label designating stereotypical characteristics.

Words such as “lazy” or “selfish” pop up in the subconscious, based simply upon the glaring disparity between the millennial generation and the rest of humanity.

This otherness with which we are portrayed is my biggest pet peeve regarding how our generation is depicted.

To glance through a list of articles about the millennial generation, one would think there ought to be gaggles of 20- to 30-year-olds somewhere behind glass with researchers scribbling on clipboards outside observation windows.

Even a cursory search of the word “millennials” shows a plethora of study results, often with a standard headline reading something along the lines of “Millennials are doing something and here’s why that’s good/bad.”

Whether the articles tout good characteristics or bad ones, the reality is they often still put millennials under a microscope, separating us from the rest of the population.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the millennial generation is likely the most studied generation to date, though that may be due in part to it being the largest generation to date.

Still, with so much scrutiny following our every move, it is easy to feel set apart from those performing that scrutiny.

This has created an “us” and “them” mentality, which only serves to exacerbate the issue.

Unless I am mistaken, the reasoning behind the copious number of studies surrounding the millennial generation is to better understand our mentality and ways of life.

Instead of observing us from behind computer screens and trying to tell us how we are living our lives, perhaps researchers should focus on uniting the current generations.

The best way for other generations to understand ours is to connect with us on an interpersonal level.

Though there are often many differences between millennials’ lifestyles and those of other generations, we are all still inherently human.

Rather than distinguishing us based on when we move out of our parents’ homes or whether or not we use fabric softener, researchers should concentrate on relationships between people of all ages, regardless of what categorical generation we fall into.

We as millennials are not a strange species from a distant land in need of study.

We are not a different breed of human.

We are intelligent, capable people holding at least a portion of the world’s future in our hands.

It is imperative that we not only coexist with the generations around us, but also learn and grow with them.

We deserve more than being analyzed and stereotyped simply because of our age.

Mercury Bowen is a senior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].