Tag Archives: Millennials

The New York Times and the 20-Somethings

Robin Marantz Henig’s piece in the New York Times today, ‘What Is It About 20-Somethings?‘ left me with an abundance of thoughts.

The article starts out by describing what the ‘milestones’ of adulthood are: completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having a child. And since numbers show my generation hasn’t hit those yet, or is approaching them in a different order, she suggest this means we “slouch towards adulthood.”

While I appreciate the amount of research and thoughtfulness that went into this, I feel compelled to offer the other side.  While some of my peers may appear to be ‘slouching’ towards adulthood, some of them have accelerated towards it, building new milestones that might set the next generation’s bar. Milestones like being your own boss, traveling the world, paying for your own health care. Milestones that positively help our generation to worry less about how we stack up against the past, and more about how we can contribute to the new, emerging American future.

20-somethings, as noted by Henig, also have something else going for them – a sense of possibility. One that has been considered ‘romantic’ and fades in time. Yet from my perspective, that sense is one of the qualities driving innovation, new models of business, opportunities for growth. Far from romantic, it’s a new reality.

Now that deserves to be a milestone.

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References

What Is It About 20-Somethings? – The New York Times, 08/20/2010

Why Can’t Twenty-Somethings Grow Up? -The Atlantic, 08/20/2010


My Talk at the Washington Center

My trip to the RNC was eventful from start to finish. Just when I thought it was over — another story began.

I boarded Delta 4071 to Atlanta, on my way back covering the Convention for MTV. Next to me was Julie Zimmerman, a Program Advisor, at The Washington Center. I began to tell her about my job as a Citizen Journalist for the Street Team. I was reeling from adrenaline after all the live reports I broadcasted the night before — which I’m sure was illustrated by a permanent grin. By the time we touched down, she asked if I would speak to the fall class of interns at The Center.

“How many are we talking?”
“Nothing big. Just 100 or 200.”

I smiled but cringed inside. “Sure, I’ll do it.”

The day came yesterday, and with a few nerves but no doubt, I showed up with some notes and a flash drive. Before I was set to speak, I was pulled aside by a few of the organizers who each gave me varied interpretations as to what I could or should discuss. It was like a rushed cram session in college with one too many cooks in the kitchen. I took in what everyone had to say, walked myself to a corner and organized my key points in my head.

And just like that I was up.

And I'm good to go. by you.

 

I introduced myself and started asking no-brainer, conversational questions just to get a rise. In my last minute prep, I decided to just go with my favorite subjects: the rise of mobile tech, our generation’s involvement in the election and the unprecedented amount of user-generated content forcing traditional media to address us as an audience.

“Alright, who here has a cell phone? Any journalism majors? Who here has volunteered in the last year in DC or on their respective campus?”

And with a few smiles in the front row, I was in. I talked to them about our millennial movement – and how we are influencing a serious political realignment for the first time in 40 years. But I also told them there are big challenges ahead — like the fact that 8 in 10 young primary voters went to college. Meaning there is a deep civic divide between them and their peers who are not in line for a college education.

Finally, I answered a few great questions and received a polite round of applause. I breathed a sigh of relief, packed my purse and then went outside to hail a cab. 

Like on the plane that morning,, I knew I had a similar grin and the same rush of adrenaline. I sat myself in the cab, looked out the window – and couldn’t help but wonder. Another test completed — and hopefully many more to go.