In this second installment of our multi-part blog on the millennial shift, students from the University of Georgia (UGA) School of Social Work, volunteered to share self-views of their generation. Most agreed that older generations define them negatively. They listed their perceptions of the strengths and challenges of their period.

Strengths

Few will argue the fact that millennials are the most computer savvy of previous generations. The phrase digital native refers to a person born or brought up during the age of digital technology and familiar with computers and the Internet from an early age. By this definition, millennials are certainly digital natives. The UGA students summarized other strong suits as being:

  • able to work on multiple tasks simultaneously (multi-tasking)
  • fearless
  • health conscious
  • willing to take chances
  • advocates for social justice
  • go-getters
  • more educated than other generations
  • accepting of other identities and cultures
  • liberal
  • politically conscious
  • mindful of self-care

Challenges

These young Bulldogs agreed that developing interpersonal skills is a challenge for them. They stated that it is easy to stay connected to others via electronic means, but sitting down face-to-face seems boring and a waste of time. For them, trials include being:

  • expected to know more than they actually know
  • impatient
  • willing to try new medicine (regardless of harmful side-effects)
  • attracted to violent music
  • inept at interpersonal skills
  • arrogant and easily offended
  • quick to challenge authority
  • a generation of “roommates” due to high debt
  • self-centered and require instant gratification
  • expected to live up to the expectations set by the baby boomers

The list is more exhaustive than what we can include in a brief blog, but two interesting points were repeatedly mentioned. The first was that many students felt their generation must repair the damage done by previous eras. The second point was that the computer-age has pros and cons. Pros being that it allows young adults to learn and share a wealth of information quickly via electronic means. The most noteworthy con, was the fact that even though connecting with others is a matter of click-and-send, they still feel isolated.

While millennials are exposed to a barrage of horrors including school shootings, acts of terrorism, sex trafficking, multiple forms of abuse, and death, they lack support systems for addressing their feelings about such traumas (thus the feelings of isolation). By the end of our series on the millennial shift, we hope to offer suggestions on resolving that remoteness.

Next time, join us as we look at the changes in education that are needed to meet the learning styles of millennials.

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