Frank: Why I believe in Millennials
By Austin Frank, CSA Washington and Lee Member | The Roanake Times - 3/15/2014
Sam Gilman and Andrew Kaplan, ages 21 and 20, of Washington, D.C., were tired of the underrepresentation and lack of Millennial participation in politics, so they founded Common Sense Action, an organization committed to generational equity and Millennial participation. Nicole Mueller, 18, of Charlottesville, decided hunger in the United States needed to be addressed and organized a national food drive that collected food for 160,000 people. These individuals inspire me and further my faith in our generation.
If we leverage the passions and traits that make us unique, we can achieve amazing things that will make the world a more beautiful place.
Certain characteristics of these young adults have, time and again, made themselves known as I've observed them in action. This is what sets our generation apart from those who have come before us, as we have all taken our turn stepping into adulthood. The first trait is a vigorous search for meaning in our work and lives. We are not content to commit our time-pressed existences to something we view as meaningless or insignificant. We do not want our education and jobs to simply be a means to an end.
This drive, this constant search for meaning, is an intrinsically important component of our collective personality. It means we will not be content until we are doing something that can effect change or help further what we think is right. When a great many of us are so focused on finding meaning and effecting change, we shall achieve great things.
Another striking aspect of our generation is that technology is deeply entrenched in our culture and mindset. No other group of people has come of age in a period of such unbelievable technological exploration and development. From the explosion of social media, to the advancements in cellular technology and the wealth of knowledge available to individuals, it is unfathomable how far we have come.
Most incredibly, though, is how we have embraced and leveraged social media to further our goals.
Not only have we used these dynamic tools to stay in touch with friends and follow news, but we have created movements, exposed injustices and overthrown dictators around the globe - all in real time. Many of the events of the Arab Spring, for example, were organized through social media.
If we continue to employ this unique mechanism for social change to organize, spread new ideas, and communicate with one another, we can build more effective and powerful movements - something that could never have happened before.
The last thing that makes me proud to be a Millennial is the generation's extraordinary adaptability. Reflect on what we have lived through and how well we have fared. We've come through 9/11, a vicious attack on our home that tore at the hearts of our nation. We've persevered through one of the worst economic catastrophes our country has ever seen. We've seen the fall of dictators and the escalation of civil wars across the world. We've seen the first black President of the United States.
Through all of these advancements and adversities, we've adapted and thrived. We have learned how to use social media to enact change. We have found jobs despite the tough market, and we haven't let the rocky economy deter us. These are the true defining traits of the Millennials.
Despite what some people say, our generation is inspiring. What we have accomplished already is extraordinary. These traits are what reassure me that we will be capable of making the world a better place and making the important decisions in years to come; and there will be plenty of tough decisions to make. How will the U.S. fit into a world where China is expanding and there are more superpowers? How will we tackle paying off the national debt while meeting our obligations to Social Security, Medicare and national defense? What should be the role of government, and to what extent should it play a role in citizens' lives?
I am confident we're ready to lend a hand in forming our own future and the future of our nation and world. Our time to make a difference in this tumultuous world has come.