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on Leading the Next Generation


One Big Question I Asked Generation iY Students

As our team worked on the new e-chapter for the book Generation iY, one thing we wanted to do was feature input from students themselves. So I asked a question I felt would help us understand these young Millennials—one that allows them to clarify who they are and how they are different. It’s simple and to the point:

What do you wish seasoned adults understood about your generation?

photo credit: Marco Bellucci via photopin cc

photo credit: Marco Bellucci via photopin cc

Here are some of the most telling responses from college students:

A Female said…

I wish seasoned adults understood how difficult it really is to be a young adult today. In many ways, our generation has been the most affluent, provided for, and even coddled group of individuals in history. Modern technological advancements and progressive parenting ideologies account for that. But this is truly the most visibly complex, corrupt, and confusing our world has ever been. Maybe this is just a part of growing up, something every person has to experience at some point in his or her life. But young adults today have had to grapple with this difficult world that is excessively documented and blasted in our faces via the Internet, news media, and entertainment. All of this makes life very confusing, and overwhelming. It’s no wonder so many young adults seem lost and without purpose, moving home after college. Better to go somewhere safe and known than journey into the abyss of the real world.

A male said…

I wish adults knew we want to help and add value, but we want you to listen to us for a second without seeing us as some inexperienced youngster who just needs to see how the real world works. You complain all the time about the real world—why wouldn’t we want to change it? If you complain about the “real-world” and don’t paint a picture for how great it is, why in the world would we want to enter it? We need you to shed light on why we should “grow-up”. We need mentors and adults to look up to—authentic adults who paint a picture of the joys and struggles of life, so we are prepared for when they happen.

A Female said…

I wish they knew how afraid many of us are about the future. I’m afraid I won’t know how to handle situations that adults take for granted. So far, my mom has done almost everything for me—from paying my phone bill, to getting my license renewed, to smog checks, to school registration—you name it. I feel I’m going to enter a world where it’s up to me to do it all, but no one prepared me to do it. And I’m afraid to ask; I feel stupid. So I retreat into the world I know. I probably will move back home after college.

A Male said…

I served as an intern after college where some of my tasks were less than intellectually or emotionally stimulating. I complained to a mid-life manager who responded with, “You’ll survive” and “I hated my jobs right out of college, I hated every minute of grad school. But that’s what I had to do to be successful and that’s just life.” I’m sure his response was out of tough love. However, it definitely didn’t pull me out of my slump. I wish adults understood that we need help seeing the value of the bottom of the ladder and how every step helps in the long run. I also wish that adults understood that we simply want to make a difference and live a fulfilling life. When I hear the goal is just to “survive” and then “that’s just life,” I’m not inspired to take the necessary difficult steps. While I want to move on with my life, hearing this from adults doesn’t paint a pretty picture of what the future or the job market will be like. What’s the point if life as an adult is so unpleasant? I wish adults could help me balance my hopes and fears.

May I encourage you to invite some students over to your house and pose this same question to them? You may learn something from their responses. Tomorrow, we’ll examine the questions students ask, based on their life station.

1 Comment

  1. Marisol on April 29, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    I agree with what was shared…particularly by the third young adult. Seems like teens and those older want to make a difference in this world. It think it’s a growing phenomenon. The last time I noticed this happened during the 60s and 70s with the start of the Peace Corps; JFK’s Inaugural Speech; etc.

    My husband read a book a couple years ago that talked about how trends tend to swing from one extreme to another like a pendulum. And that the cycle takes about 40 years to repeat. Looks like it’s happening that way….

    Thinking back I remember how adults around me were less concerned with understanding me and more concerned that I understand them. Although they were the ones to have the wisdom (and skill?) to understand (and connect) with the next generation, they instead severed the opportunity to connect and thus miss the opportunity to influence/mentor the next generation.

    It is important that adults stop complaining about what’s wrong with “the young” and come alongside that young person and first tell them that it’s okay to begin at the “bottom”; that there are lessons (and vital skills) to be learned at every job and every mistake.

    My advise for the young(er)…look for adults who have characteristics/traits that are noble, full of integrity, genuine/transparent, willing to admit/apologize and learn from their mistakes, etc. to be mentored by them. They ARE out there.

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One Big Question I Asked Generation iY Students