First of all, we have way too much debt. National student tuition debt is around $1 trillion, and the average college graduate has $27,000 in student loans.
Second of all, we are trying to find jobs in a terrible job market. The Great Recession caused highly qualified people to take lower-caliber jobs, and the result is that 43 percent of college graduates are now working at jobs that don’t require a degree.
Third of all, apparently we’re lazy (according to Fortune), heretics (according to The Pew Forum) and moochers (according to The Washington Post).
It’s not exactly encouraging knowing that the generations above us have slapped the indebted, unemployed, lazy, heretical, mooch, uninspired, co-dependent, whiny, exhausted label on us.
Somehow I’m just not convinced that the acidic, doomsday language flowing from so many lethal tongues is helping anything.
I can’t even keep track of the number of times an older person has told me how hard it will be for me to find a job (especially since I want to be a journalist, which is apparently the new code word for “homeless woman”).
We KNOW we’re graduating into a terrible job market. We’re the ones who are staying up until 4 a.m. applying for dozens of jobs, trying to ignore the voices telling us how lazy we are.
We’re not doing everything wrong. According to Gallup, in 1979, 24 percent of young people said they smoked cigarettes. Today only 12 percent say they do. Likewise, the percentage of young people who have tried marijuana has dropped from 41 percent to 20 percent.
According to the Millennial Impact Report, 63 percent of Millennials volunteered for a nonprofit in 2011, and 75 percent said they made a financial donation to one.
We aren’t the perfect generation. But neither was our parents’ and neither was our grandparents’. And like it or not, we’re the future.
Jessi Emmert is a senior journalism and history major. She also works at Our Sunday Visitor publishing company. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This column reflects the views of the writer only.