Tonawanda News

Columns

December 1, 2013

DUVALL: Taking stock of the millennial generation

Tonawanda News — The holidays are upon us. The dead sprint to 2014 is on — and with it comes the obligatory taking of stock in another year, if only because over the next month we’re all forced to have an answer prepared for “how have you been?” while catching up with all the people you only see this time of year.

It’s also an opportunity to step back and take stock of the larger picture. As a thirty-something professional I take great interest in pondering the fate of my generation, the millennials.

We’re defined as those born after 1980. (I was born in 1982.) And an honest accounting would reveal things aren’t too great for people my age.

Still, looking around at my contemporaries I’m incredibly excited for what’s to come. 

First, let’s toss out the terrible “damn kids” argument every generation makes about the newest generation. Millennials are no more selfish, self-absorbed, naive or reckless than any other generation.

To the contrary, statistically speaking we’re the most educated generation in American history. We hold more college degrees by percentage than any other. And while the student loan debt associated with that is a major factor in our lives, we should focus first on what that means for society.

I find most people my age to be more open-minded and engaged than other generations. We read and write obsessively on the Internet. Sure, much of that reading and writing is what-I-had-for-breakfast social media drivel, but communication and engagement with the world writ large isn’t a problem for us.

Our commitment to technological advancement is driving a marketplace of ideas — and commodities — that has made the world a better place. Older generations might scoff at Twitter but it’s a force to be reckoned with in the new millennium. No medium before it so quickly toppled dictators in the history of mankind.

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