Selfish. Lazy. Technology-crazed. Those are just some of the adjectives people use to stereotype the millennial generation.
This age group, those born in the 1980s or later, have been labeled the “me, me, me generation,” but not all of the characteristics millennials are supposed to have hold true. Jennifer Lehmbeck, a professor in the U’s Department of Health Promotion and Education, believes that while the stereotypes may be a little harsh, they are based on what older generations never experienced.
“This generation is facing far different challenges,” she said.
Lehmbeck also said new technology is partially to blame.
“Take a simple task, such as washing your clothes. We just throw them in the washer, dryer, closet, whereas our older counterparts were forced to hand-wash, line dry,” she said. “We have more niceties and conveniences.”
Chelsea Sather, a freshman in strategic communication, said while certain tasks are now significantly easier, general life goals have stayed the same.
“In some areas I’m sure other generations may look at us and think that we are perhaps less driven and less focused, but just look at students at the U,” Sather said. “We have all decided we want something more and are all challenging ourselves. To be in college you have to be hardworking.”
Stereotyping, Lehmbeck said, is not always from a negative place.
“Stereotyping is used as a learning strategy,” she said. “Stereotyping allows humans to organize and interpret the information we see or hear.”
Sather believes the only way for older generations to understand younger generations is to look at things through their eyes.
“It is really important to see life from both points of views,” Sather said. “I think our generation should show we are ambitious and fight the stereotype that we aren’t, yet they also need to understand that we are living in a different world then they were so long ago.”