As college students, we are a part of the generation termed Generation Y, or the Millenials.
And we are being watched. Vigilantly.
Type the word "Millenials" into Google and you are bound to find some interesting and somewhat alarming news articles.
When I did this as of 12:05 a.m. on Monday morning, my search results included titles such as "Where Do Millenials Shop For Food?" "Flip-flops at Work: Millenials Finally Get What They Want," and "What Does YouTube Tell Us About Millenials?"
Other search results consisted of information such as the Pew Research Center survey that identifies "How Millenial You Are" on a scale from 1 to 100, with a 100 being a straight Millenial. I got an 89, which makes me feel like I missed exactly 11 percent of my childhood.
Scroll further down the Google search page and you'll find in-depth news articles with even more troubling titles: "Are Millenials the Screwed Generation?," "Do Millenials Stand a Chance in the Real World?" and even "Millenials Struggle with Financial Literacy."
Based on these results alone, it is clear we are being scrutinized, studied and examined to death – possibly more than any other generation before us. Due to the rise of the Internet within our lifetime, it makes sense that there are more opportunities for almost anyone to post their opinion about us, whether it is through a personal blog, news article or even a short YouTube clip.
When I watch or read any of these outlets, several questions pop into my mind: Have these reporters or journalists ever wondered if it helps our cause to constantly barrage us with information that proclaims we are unmotivated, incapable of surviving without technology and possibly more selfish than any other generation? Along with that, are these reports balanced at all, and do any Millenials ever write them or even have a say in their content?
Maybe I am just surrounded by the rare Millenials at UT that are highly successful workaholics, who follow real passions and have a healthy balance of both technology and real life – but somehow I think that's not true. Instead many researchers choose to see only the negative aspects, and fail to see the flip-side of our downfalls; they are the very methods to our success.
We are very attached to technology – which can also mean that we are going to be the most up-to-date generation on world and local news. The presence of technology also increases our ability to multi-task.
And sure, we do think we are all special, but what's wrong with that?
Each person is unique, and acknowledging that sooner means taking advantage of your own individuality sooner. We are said to have been sheltered, but naiveté can easily be lost. It may even be an advantage because it makes us less cynical and gives us a more positive outlook overall.
In my mind, generation research almost does not even make sense because – though you can predict our possible actions and what our behaviors seem to be – you are not really going to know for sure until we get out into the world and do things. We do not have to stay confined within the boundaries and certain specifications for our generation that society places us in.
We may all share characteristics, but we are still individuals who have both good and bad qualities, as any person from any generation is bound to possess.
When our time to go out into the real world comes we must recognize the many assumptions placed upon us. And only by defining ourselves as more than just another Millenial can we prove those assumptions wrong. It's all up to us.
Victoria Knight is a senior in microbiology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.