Im 23 years old, which means I fit into the Generation Y demographic alongside 50 million other Americans.
By REBEKAH BELL
Special to The Star
We are a generation accused of forgoing major life capstones such as settling into a career or getting married in order to gallivant to European hotspots in the name of soul-searching.
We are denounced for accumulating student loan debt, living with our parents after college, being underemployed, starting families later than our parents did, and putting off major life purchases such as homes. Time Magazine labeled us the Me, Me, Me, generation, citing sources which show that narcissism is three times more prevalent in this age bracket than in prior ones. We are a generation constantly accused of being egotistical and entitled.
And we are a generation with unbelievable potential to change the world.
I know there are some in our generation who are lazy, self-entitled and indulgent, but this is not true of everyone. I know many Gen-Yers who continue to act as if life is one big frat party and fritter away their time with trivial activities, but far more who think deeply about who they are and who they want to become.
I have peers who feel entitled to great jobs, and others who are willing to put in hard work day-in-and-day-out to build the kind of career they want to have. I have some friends who expect the world to be handed to them on a silver platter, and countless others who are achieving their goals simply through dedication and determination.
I know some people have lost faith in our generation. They call us incompetent, self-centered and hopeless. And to those people, I would like to say this: Yes, some millennials are incompetent, self-centered and hopeless. But this isnt true of everyone. So dont stereotype a generation.
Dont be afraid to give millennials a chance to prove their ability in the workforce. Dont buy into the myth that people cannot be mature, responsible and capable until they are well into the 30s. People rise to the bar set before them, so encourage excellence of the millennials in your life.
Gen-Yers have published best-selling books, found cures for diseases which baffled scientists, won Heisman trophies and Olympic gold medals, founded multimillion dollar companies, and led campaigns to end modern-day slavery.
The Pew Research Center defined us as confident, connected and open to change. Like every generation before us, we have faults and flaws as well as strengths and successes.
So, my generation, I encourage you: Others may be expecting little of you, but show them much. Excellence does not happen by accident, so be intentional about building a life you can be proud of. Use this time in life to explore, discover and try new things. Dont buy into the myth that you cant do great things simply because you are young. Dont be discouraged or defined by what others say about you.
Yes, we may struggle more to find good jobs post-college. But we are resilient, resourceful and responsible, and a difficult economy will not defeat us.
Yes, we may be putting off marriage and family longer than our ancestors but this does not mean those things are unimportant to us. (The Pew Research Center found that millennials value marriage and parenthood above career and financial success.)
Yes, we may be facing a difficult time in history but we can consciously choose to demonstrate the kind of character, conviction and courage that is necessary to carry us into a bright future.
Yes, we sometimes run the risk of blaming our problems on our parents, our therapists or our government. But we are capable of taking ownership of our actions, and demonstrating responsibility for our decisions and our futures.
We are a generation who will grow up to be the poets, pastors, presidents, physicians, pilots, performers, politicians and paramedics of a new age and its up to us to decide what kind of world to create.
John F. Kennedy once said, We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world or to make it the last.
Rebekah Bell, of south-central Kansas, is a graduate of Biola University in La Mirada, Calif., and works in the film industry.