I am 21 years old, Caucasian, female and according to the Pew Research Center’s quiz, How Millennial Are You?, I am 98 percent millennial. It’s no secret that we millennials are glued to technology more than any other generation before us. Though we seem to be the front-runners in developing a solid future for the nation, we claim the title of one of the most uninformed generations and one that doesn’t have its priorities in order. So which are we?
“I think many people spend way too much time connected to their technology and miss out on many things going on around them,” said Tori Snyder, senior at Elizabeth College.
Some common descriptions of our generation, outlined in Millennials Rising by Neil Howe and William Strauss, say that technology overload is one of the main characteristics of millennials. Just walk around a college campus, filled with students on their iPhones, and you have proof.
In 2010, The Pew Research Center conducted a study of Millennials and found that only 24 percent get news from newspapers and 59 percent get information through the web.
Brian Bruffey, senior at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, said that while we may be the first generation to grow up with unlimited access to technology and worldly information, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we are well informed.
“I know blogging about issues has declined because people are disdainful,” he said. “It’s a lot easier to be like, ‘I like this and not this,’ than to write out a long, thought-out blog post. It’s a lot easier to post a rant on Twitter and also the convenience is there,” Bruffey explained.
Since the convenience of the Internet is available in the palms of our hands, questions rise as to why we lack worldly knowledge. In an interview with The Huffington Post, University of Texas at Austin professor Paula Poindexter said she found a shocking and confusing answer.
Based on Poindexter’s findings in 2012, “the majority of millennials do not feel that being informed is important,” “they feel that the media talks down to them” and “that news is garbage and lies.” Her study overwhelmingly points out that our lack of interest in information may lead to none being consumed in the future.
AboutNews, The Huffington Post, PhillyMag and Forbes all agree: because of the convenience of getting information and the fact that we just don’t feel that news affects us millennials, we are less likely to make it a priority.
“I think we’re just informed in a different way,” Beverly Visnov, West Chester senior, disagreed. “Some people go to newspapers and others in our generation go through the Internet…I think everyone prioritizes their time [in a way] that they see fit,” Visnov said.
The disagreement over the priority of being well informed brings up the question of what exactly millennials prioritize. Bruffey explained that throughout college, the priority for students is to meet new people, with occasional care for academics on the back burner.
“I think the priority is socializing and networking, even though we are here in college to study,” he said. “What we’re studying applies to what we’re doing in the workforce. The social skills developed [in college] can help a lot with that,” he added.
Snyder said she could see this as being beneficial in the future but that as we get older, it’s a “catch 22.”
“When we’re old enough, we go out and drink and hang out. So I’ve seen peoples’ priorities go downhill. They were more worried about their social aspects than going to school,” Snyder said.
Though individual circumstances and researchers have found that our generation’s pursuits and priorities may be mixed up, these three millennials feel a bit more optimistic.
“I think our generation actually does have the ability to make a difference,” Snyder said. “By the time we get out of college, there will be jobs that we invented.”
“Don’t worry. We are fundamentally unchanged. As we continue to go through college and into the rest of our twenties, we’re going to turn out alright,” Bruffey said.
“Every generation had issues; we’re no different,” Visnov said. “We’re very successful and I don’t know why we’d end up differently.”
Main image: giphy.com