On thinking about our futures, we as university students have it hard and possibly harder now than ever before. My time at University is drawing to a close as I begin the second term of my final year at Nottingham and I cannot help but feel as though I am totally unprepared for ‘adulting’ and the ‘real world’. This is only natural for a student about to set foot into the working world, but doing so in 2019 presents more problems for today’s generation than it did for graduates only a decade back.
“We also seem to be the butt of our elder generation’s very unamusing inside joke”
Technically I fall into the Generation Z category ranging from ‘mid-1990’ to 2011. However, I see no difference between myself and my older siblings, who supposedly fit more neatly into ‘Millennials’. Either way, my siblings and I are in for an exciting ride. We also seem to be the butt of our elder generation’s very unamusing inside joke. Often, we are criticised by our seniors who shamelessly comment on how we spend too much time on the internet or on our mobile phones.
I may be prone to the occasional scroll down a Facebook feed, but this does not take away from the fact that I am constantly consumed by the thought of a bleaker reality than one my older generation ever had to contend with.
“half as likely to own a property at 30 years old than their baby boomer counterparts. Yes, it looks as though property ownership might just be a luxury for our generation”
Generation Z and Millennials deserve more credit for what they have to deal with. Unlike our ‘better-off Gen X or baby boomer parents’, Millennials classed as being born between 1981 and 2000 are half as likely to own a property at 30 years old than their baby boomer counterparts. Yes, it looks as though property ownership might just be a luxury for our generation. On top of this we, as Millennials, will be paying back our student loans long after our parents. Whilst we currently pay £9000 – £9250 annually for our higher education, our parents would likely have had to pay nothing, between 1962 -1990s, with the state effectively paying for their studies as well as throwing in a maintenance grant to round of the fully-furnished university experience.
I call to members of Generation X and the baby boomers out there who dwell on the negatives of our generation and aim to prove them wrong. In response to your ‘those kids just can’t seem to get of their phones’ and your ‘how much time can one spend on Netflix?’, I say technology is at the heart of the world as we know it today.
Spending time on our phones, in moderation, makes us more internet savvy and as for Netflix, the constant streaming of ‘binge-worthy’ TV shows make us more cultured individuals. I mean Black Mirror… you’ve only got yourself to blame if you can’t contribute to a conversation on dystopia and free will in fear that Netflix is infringing on yours’ and your children’s lives (yes, I understand the irony of this statement). Social media is also evolving at a rapid rate and we are forced to evolve with it. Many companies are now asking that their employees have experience on these powerful platforms and so we must deliver.
“The irony is clear with Generation Z being required to have social media experience at the risk of a decline in their own mental health”
However, social media also has its pitfalls, and, for this, Millennials deserve a badge. Suicidal thoughts are on the rise amongst teenagers who feel as though their lives are constantly being judged. Youthscape’s emotional wellbeing lead, Helen Cutteridge suggests that Gen Z now have more access to edited images than ever before. Gen Z are comparing themselves to these unrealistic images and scrutinising themselves as a result. The irony is clear with Generation Z being required to have social media experience at the risk of a decline in their own mental health. So, it seems that we might have a bit more to contend with than our seniors.
“To me, that sounds like being pro-active and driven rather than lazy and incompetent”
But it is not all bad news because every generation has had their own hurdles to overcome and we are no exception. We might be judged by the elder generation, of which some might think us lazy and incompetent, but that is not to say that they are right. Difficulties of getting on to the property ladder or repaying our student finance at a slower rate than our seniors forces us to work harder than them to meet the same goals. To me, that sounds like being pro-active and driven rather than lazy and incompetent.