The Millennial Generation (those 18 to 33 years of age) has grown up in a particularly rough time. Economic crisis has plagued the United States, many people were laid off and even more were simply unemployed. Due to this unfortunate development, the job market has become more competitive than ever, and kids as young as twelve years old are stressing out about their future and panicking about becoming someone great before they even hit the age of sixteen.
When my Mom was young, she would get out of school around three, take the bus home and play outside with her neighbors until it got dark. She had to do homework of course, but typically no more than an hour or two – and by dinner she would be done. Dinner was considered family time – there was no TV in the kitchen, no doing homework at the table, and everyone was forced to sit together and talk: to be invested in one another’s lives. There was no such thing as getting a tutor for the SAT or ACT – the ACT didn’t even exist – and there were some classes, but nothing proven to truly help. You simply studied your best and hoped it would all work out. No one was worried about job experience before they were nineteen. People didn’t plan how each class or individual decision would affect their entire life. There was no heavy emphasis on Advance Placement classes or stress to graduate early. People were able to have fun, and I think that is something that the Millennial Generation has forgotten.
Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in The Hat said it best: “it is fun to have fun, but you have to know how,” and I believe the Millennial Generation has become so caught up in the future that they have forgotten how to have fun. Just the other day I walked into my friends’ dorm room on a beautiful Saturday afternoon with the intention of getting my friends to go out for a walk. I didn’t really care; I just wanted to get all my friends out of their rooms and outside. Every person I asked greeted me with a definitive ‘no’. One person had job applications, the other was applying to internships, some were doing school work for the surplus of classes they were taking to graduate early and the most painful was the one who told me to stop messing around.
I understand that people are ambitious, but I am too. I understand that people get stressed out or busy, but this is not a one-time occurrence. Almost every weekend I find myself pleading with the people I know to go for a walk, or to go hang out at a party, and every time I am met with a stern no and a lecture about how it is time to grow up, to take life seriously. My response to that is this; I will have my entire life to be serious, to work in an office and to focus on gaining work experience. I can study during the weekdays, and write applications and such on Sundays and weeknights. There is no reason that one day of the entire week should not be dedicated to having fun, and the right kind of fun.
Many college students think that the only way to have fun is to get drunk at some fraternity or sorority party or get high with a group of strangers. I personally think this is ridiculous. Just last week I was talking to my friend from another school on the phone for the first time in months and she rushed me off the phone because ‘she had to get work done so that she could get drunk this weekend.’ When I told her that was ridiculous, she replied that she ‘works hard all week and deserves to get drunk on weekends.’
Whatever happened to getting together with a group of friends just to play cards and watch a movie? Why is the Millennial Generation incapable of just taking time to relax and enjoy the company of others? Overall I think the Millennial Generation needs to re-prioritize and to stop stressing out. We are all only going to be young once, so there is no point in wasting it.