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The Pros and Cons of Generation iY

Generation iY

For twelve years now, sociologists have been surveying students from Generation Y. They are the kids born between 1984 and 2002. Authors Howe and Strauss drew some early conclusions about them. Some of them remain the same; others have changed, as Gen Y has become iY (The kids born since 1990). While reviewing the pros and the cons of these students, note that each of the positive qualities has a negative consequence, and vice-versa. Our job is to capitalize on the positive qualities and help students leverage them, while minimizing the negatives.

    PROS                                                  CONS

1. They feel special and needed.                    1. They can act spoiled and conceited.

2. They own the world of technology.         2. They expect quick and easy results.

3. They love community.                                  3. They often won’t act outside of their clique.

4. They are the focus of their parents.        4. They may be unable to cope with reality.

5. They are high on tolerance.                        5. They often lack absolute values.

6. They’ve had a fairly easy life.                     6. The may lack stamina to finish school.

7. They catch on to new ideas quickly.        7. They struggle with long-term commitment.

8. They can multi-task.                                     8. They often can’t focus on one clear goal.

9. Bias for action and interaction.               9. They’re too impatient to sit and listen long.

10. They want to be the best.                        10. They can get depressed when they aren’t.

11. They plan to live a life of purpose.        11. They often neglect tasks that seem trivial.

12. They are confident and assertive.         12. They can come across careless and rude.

13. They hunger to change the world.        13. They anticipate doing it quickly and easily.

A Summary of Generation iY

This generation of students can be summarized with the phrases:

  1. They believe they can do great things…but they can be idealistic.
  2. They want to act now…but they can be impatient when results take too long.
  3. They love interaction…but may avoid initiating if they must act alone.
  4. They have a high self-esteem…but they can appear self-centered.
  5. They want to explore the future…but can be paralyzed when faced with so many options.

Here’s to you and I capitalizing on the strengths above and making the weaknesses irrelevant.

How can we help students maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses?

3 Comments

  1. Aimeemcbroom on June 8, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    As a member of the iY generation, I think that the best thing that adults can do to maximise our strengths and minimize our weaknesses, is just let us try.  I had a mentor who let me step up to leader.  He walked me through the successes and the days that didn’t go so well.  By allowing me to learn by doing, he’s helped me develop in the areas of perseverence and I’m learning to be more goal oriented.

    • Tim Elmore on June 12, 2012 at 10:53 am

      Great advice. If we can get out the way and let students try, there’s so much value in that experience. Thanks for sharing!

  2. WaitingforskipAd(s) on July 11, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    We’re all doomed.

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The Pros and Cons of Generation iY