I was recently standing in line with a few other students, while a couple of professors stood nearby. They were laughing and enjoying their time together, and I heard one professor talk about his experiences with people in another country who were slow to return to work. Another professor responded with, “Sounds like millennials.”
The title “millennial” is frequently a laughing point among older generations, so the comment should not have been a big deal. What struck me about the comment was that it came from a professor; the same person who is teaching and mentoring millennials every day — the person who should know the best characteristics about millennials, should inspire strengths and set their worldly views aside, not make those people the center of jokes. It should be noted that all professors are not making jokes about millennials, but I believe it is more commonplace than it should be.
A reason why millennial jokes might come up on a college campus is because students are not consistent in maintaining responsibilities. They may not want to go to class, they may sleep through their alarms, etc. However, this is true about college students from the past as well, not just about current college students who are millennials.
Another reason millennials are viewed poorly is because of social media. Millennials have had the ability to share their lives publicly for the greater part of their life. This has created a space where an entire generation is able to connect and share every moment of their lives, which has led to millennials being open and honest. They want to share their lives with other generations because those people helped shape their lives and will want to see what they have become. Millennials want to learn about themselves and what they could improve. They search for articles and videos with advice about life and they don’t keep it to themselves, they share it. They want to help people. They learned this from older generations, yet they are even more action-oriented. Millennials aren’t afraid to speak out about something they are passionate about. They seek opportunities to improve the lives of others, even when it makes them look bad. Millennials are present and active. They want to get jobs that mean something, and they are willing to take the long road to get there.
Millennials engage in their relationships and have the ability to nurture them through social media. They want to help others down paths that are mutually beneficial. They commit their time to someone and will be present for as long as they are needed. Millennials can anticipate when they are not needed and are willing to step back and let others lead. They are also able to anticipate when they are needed to lead and step up.
This generation is learning what it means to live in a growing society. They are redefining the definition of leaders and followers. Millennials need encouragement and life breathed into them as they become mentors. Now that sounds like millennials.
Written by Cayleigh Thomas