It was a colorful fall day in Virginia. After my daily workout with my best friend, we parted ways and made plans to meet back up for dinner. Usually, we did everything together, but today I had my end of semester meeting with my financial advisor. After sitting in the waiting room with my zip-up hoodie and Nike sneakers, I was called into his cubicle. After hearing about the debt I had accumulated thus far, I knew there had to be a better way. It was after that meeting that I devised a strategy to get ahead. One year later I found myself working at a prestigious company with a team that was heavily involved in planning Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium. With this alternative method I was able to get my bachelors with experience rather than debt under my belt. Unfortunately for today’s generation, you cannot pay for college with just a part time job, and no white collar position is guaranteed post-graduation.
I am a Millennial. Despite our bad rep, I am proud to hold this title. There is more to us than Snapchat, Justin Bieber, and Netflix and Chill. Millennials are the most diverse generation in U.S history. Millennials were born between the late 1980’s and 1990’s. We are engaged, focused on the future, and tolerant. Furthermore, we are the generation of entrepreneurs, we find pleasure in the journey, and we are the first generation to have personal media. Generation X focused on a work/life balance while Millennials have work/life integration. A Millennial self-brands weekly, daily, and hourly. Our mentality is different compared to generations before us as we emerge from adolescents to adults.
The traditional road map of life is:
1) Graduate college
2) Become financially independent
3) Get married
4) Have a baby
In 1960, 75% of people hit this complete roadmap by the age of 30, when in 2010, only 10% of people had completed it. For our generation, our 20’s have become a transition period. It is no secret that generations before us are critical. Can I be bold enough to say that we have aspects we need to work on as a whole? We have bigger issues than whether we should use the filter X-Pro II or Valencia.
Here are a few of them:
1) We compare.
Although social media has brought a sense of community, we also use it to compare ourselves to others. We compare each other’s lives and this causes considerable anxiety. Whether it comes to success in money or our bodies, we need to learn to be content and work hard on our own journey regardless of what others are doing.
2) Few of us plan for the future.
We all know that one guy who is 25 and his parents are still depositing his rent, food, and cell phone bill into his bank account each month. As a whole, our generation needs to budget and learn what it means to save. Many of us are privileged because generations before us paved the way. However, we need to follow their example and do the hard thing rather than make constant impulse buys.
3) We feel entitled.
No, not all of us are entitled. But I have seen far too many students graduate and assume they are starting out with a six-figure salary in a management position. We need to put in the hard work and earn it. We should never want to be known as a generation that is lazy. Achieving a goal when the road is hard is the most rewarding thing our generation could ever do.
Despite our shortcomings, Millennials should be immensely proud of the notable qualities we possess.
1) We can hear the hard thing.
We don’t need fluff, but rather we are attracted to boldness. As painful as it may be, we want to hear the truth. We can immediately spot when someone is being fake. Each of us is searching for authenticity, and that is something to be valued.
2) Millennials know how to follow their passion.
The 2014 Millennial Impact Report did a study which surveyed 1500 millennials. The findings showed that the main factor in determining whether or not they remained at their company was having their passions used and fulfilled. Our generation is driven by a group of people who must find a role where their values and dreams come to life.
Here is the question we really need to ask: Are we factoring God into our generation?
What we need to remember, above anything else, is God and His Word are the ultimate authority. Because we are searching for authenticity, we can always turn to the Scriptures. In all of the examples above, whether budgeting, working hard, or following our passion, the Bible is extremely relevant. God’s word can be utilized to guide us in every single one of these areas.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” -Timothy 3:16-17
We are living in a different time. Often, lines are blurred and our generation comes to situations or decisions that aren’t black and white. This is when we have to set our feet on the solid rock and stand on what God’s Word says. When our generation is searching for discernment, His Word will be the cornerstone we need to ground ourselves in truth.
“The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.” –Psalms 37:23-24