If you frequent this site, there’s a good chance you’ve seen the recent TSM column claiming that the vast majority of Americans born since the mid-80s need a wake-up call. While our generation certainly has its fair share of worthless deadbeats, I take issue with lumping us all into one unflattering category.
I’m a full-time student who works two jobs. I have an unpredictable, demanding schedule. On top of that, I hold a leadership position in my fraternity, I freelance for several websites and publications, and I’m constantly on the hunt for better jobs and internships. By no means am I perfect, but I’m far from lazy. I get about six hours of sleep on a good night, and very few of my waking hours go to waste.
What’s more is that I don’t feel as if I’m an exception to any rule. Yeah, I run into peers of mine every day who fit the mold described by BlingleWhiteFemale, but I also encounter countless with intelligence and work ethic that puts mine to shame. Maybe I’m just lucky enough to be surrounded by the so-called “geniuses and go-getters,” but I’ve always been skeptical of coincidence.
If you ask me, every generation has folks who give it a bad name. Think of your drunk uncle or deadbeat family friend. To arbitrarily consider them to be a part of a “previous, hard-working generation” is just as fallacious as assuming that all us “twenty-somethings,” as we’re so often called, are a bunch of losers.
By no means am I making light of the contributions of our forefathers, but every generation of Americans has had a role in making our country what it is today. From the people who came over on the Mayflower to the ones who signed the Declaration of Independence to the ones who gave or risked their lives for our freedom, our history is a centuries-old chain of momentous achievements. Sure, Generation Y hasn’t done shit yet in comparison, but we’ve also got plenty of time left.
We also can’t forget who raised us. I, for one, was brought up right. I respect my elders, know to stand up and look someone in the eye when I shake his or her hand, and strive to do right by others. For this, I’ll be eternally grateful to my parents. Not everyone in my generation can say the same, but neither can everyone in previous generations.
Rather than calling out all your peers for what you perceive to be a grocery list of flaws, take a look in the mirror. There’s only one person you’re responsible for in this life, and that’s yourself. Try to be different. Demand more from yourself. When you see someone, from any generation, wasting his or her precious time on this earth, use it as motivation to be better.
Who’s to say that one of us won’t cure cancer or figure out how to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels? Why can’t we be the ones to stand up to the political machine and fix the economic and social issues plaguing our country? I have no doubt that our generation will step up to the plate and leave the world a better place when it’s all said and done. It’s just a matter of time.