Young people are changing the world. Over the past twenty one years, we have lived through 9/11, an extreme recession, multiple mass shootings, and four presidents, all while growing up. We were raised in a time of social media and constant access to the internet and one another. I knew how to publicly share my thoughts from a cell phone before I finished the second grade. I was born in 1996, which puts me right on the tail end of the millennial generation, which spans between people currently aged 20-35.
Corporations are starting to realize that they can’t survive without the support of young people. We have taken down SeaWorld, affected the meat industry, and pushed for changes to the private prison industry and gun laws. Caring about others and being socially responsible are important to us. According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey, 77% of millennials have spent time volunteering or raising money for charities, with over 40% sharing information about this on social media and about a third making a regular donation (Deloitte Millennial Survey). A Men’s Health survey found that millennial men are much more likely to value selflessness and social consciousness than other generations (Matthews, 2018). In addition, millennials are over twice as likely as other generations to invest in, buy from, or work for companies that are socially good (Blennerhassett).
Young people, in general, are resistant to the status quo. We are often advocates for social and environmental justice, caring about what is going on in the world. I often think about the future of higher education as time goes on, especially with this new push for experiential learning. Throughout my entire childhood, I have noticed that we have been discouraged from expressing emotion and doing anything remotely dangerous. We were told to work hard, and that academics were the most important thing in the world. Now, Elon and other universities are encouraging experiential learning, advocating for more soft skills and experiences—the same ones that we were told weren’t important when we were growing up. These experiences—studying abroad, participating in an internship, and conducting research—are sold to us for incredibly high prices. It’s far cheaper for me to travel independently, find my own internship, or conduct research outside of Elon. Instead, we are paying thousands for them to “count” towards credit, to go towards a degree. Many of us are starting to realize that the degree is simply a piece of paper, a construct. The knowledge I learn from these experiences is no more than experiences I can have on my own. Things are changing, and we’re moving into a new era.
Written by: Mikey Gibeley
Blennerhassett, P. (2018). Millennials opting for ‘responsible’ investing, study finds. Vancouver Courier. http://www.vancourier.com/news/millennials-opting-for-responsible-investing-study-finds-1.23284835
Deloitte Millennial Survey (2017). Making an impact through their employers. Deloitte. https://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/millennial-survey-making-impact-through-employers.html#empowerment
Matthews, M. (2018). Millennial men may be more selfless than other generations. Men’s Health. https://www.menshealth.com/health/a20076384/millennials-more-selfless-than-older-men/