OPINION: The pessimism is killing me 2

By Jessi Emmert

In the past nine months, I think I’ve read at least 50 articles about how millennials — those born between 1983 and 1995 — are doomed.

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 emmertj@huntington.edu. This column reflects the views of the writer only.

2 thoughts on “OPINION: The pessimism is killing me

  1. Reply Someone that cares about REAL journalism Feb 24,2013 1:10 am

    This comment has been removed because it does not adhere to the Huntingtonian comment policy.

  2. Reply Sarah Lewis Feb 27,2013 11:19 am

    Unfortunately the statistics ARE stacked against our generation. To argue with the facts for more positive perspectives of the millenials is less opinion and more just wishful thinking.

    Statistically, we are the most educated generation but suffer from the highest unemployment rate in nearly four decades. Your dedication to the job search as a senior about to graduate is common and the stress understandable. It’s not just about the job search, but our performance in the workplace. Our work ethic isn’t comparable to the generations before us. We’re accomplishing less than our parents and grandparents did before us with even more time and opportunity than they had. For generation that is progressive with a higher quality of life than ever before, why aren’t we moving mountains? We’d rather instagram our morning espresso.

    I can’t exactly congratulate our generation for being innovative or driven yet. That is, unless the success of drug resistance programming in public schools is our claim to fame. Yay Gen Y, for not smoking pot or Marlboros as much as Grandpa did. And congrats to an opinion column written by the driven and striving editor applying for jobs at 4 a.m.: There’s a typo in the third paragraph.

    Editor’s note: The typo mentioned above has been corrected in this online version.

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