Monday 26 June 2017

Being a UK Millennial – Generation Why?

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If anyone wants to know what it feels like to be a Millennial in the UK, it feels like we got screwed. We have been brought up where the preceding generations have made our expectations high, and our chances of failure higher.
Our world is saturated with constant updates and news about those who have either worked hard and had it pay off, or not worked at all and had it pay off even more. So of course, our expectation is that if we are to work hard we should be rewarded threefold; the reality is of course quite harsh.
1. University
Everyone in our generation was told, from the very start of our education, you need to go to University. Why we ask? …So that you can get a good job of course.
The problem being that at the age of 15 and 16 we are forced to make decisions that will shape the rest of our lives. Like many others I was guided to not follow what I enjoy, but do something worthwhile that would obviously get me a good job …science.  
So we follow the guidance provided and after 17 years of education and a debt so large you could swim in it like Scrooge McDuck, we are chucked out of university with little understanding of the world and a third in whatever. At this stage a lot of us will have barely any interest in the subject we are now “expert” in and even less inclination to follow a career in it.
2. Getting a Job
So, underprepared and on a financial back foot, we look for a job. For many of us this did not instantly materialise and so off to the job centre we go, clouded by a stigma that we are now scrounging off the government after paying what now equates to £35,000 - £40,000 to get us to this stage.
How the story goes from here is entirely chance. Some will have been lucky and landed a well-paid, stable job that they enjoy and others will be stuck in a job they hate for barely enough money to live on.  
3. Buying a house
Now we have a job, we are told to buy a house, why waste money paying someone else’s mortgage? Of course this is almost impossible for most people whose parents can’t afford to give them a deposit. It is extremely irritating being told to buy a house by generations who are buying second houses and renting them to us for a profit and driving house prices up.
The reality of buying a house is that the only way to do it is to live with your parents to save the cash. So now you are twenty something with the work responsibilities of an adult and the home life and freedoms of a teenager.
4. Technology and Social Media
There has been much said about Millennial’s and our reliance on mobile phones and our obsession with social media, I’m not sure that it entirely fair.
Our generation was among the first to grow up with a computer in our home and of course we learned to use them, so when mobile phones first came out we all had one (how I miss my indestructible Nokia 3310). For us computers were really just an evolution of the house phone, giving us the opportunity to socialise with our friends and our counterparts around the globe, it would have been impossible for us not to become dependent. So began social media, not only offering us the opportunity to socialise, but to give opinions and share moments with the whole world.
My point is, being a Millennial and not being glued to our technology and social media is impossible. Does this make us shallow? I don’t think so. Everyone has always been shallow, we are just better at sharing it.
5. Our Future
Millennials seem to have a better understanding of real problems facing the world, with less inclination to “stick our heads in the sand”, but at the same time we have an obsession with the frivolous and sometimes obscene.

A lot of us have had a tough road so far and the path before us seems economically and socially bleak, but somewhere deep down I remain hopeful for us. I couldn’t possibly speculate on how well we will raise the next generations or what lasting effect we will have on the world but I do think things will be different, it could even be better.    

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