I was born in the right generation

October 27, 2022

Growing up, I was constantly worried about the future because I would hear adults complain that phones and technology were ruining the youth of America. 

These remarks by my elders made me feel that I missed the optimal time to be alive: in their eyes, between the ‘70s and ‘90s. 

It’s a common theme among older generations to hate those that are younger than them. This phenomenon could be attributed to memory bias. Adults have a tendency to compare the image they have of themselves to how they view kids today, according to a Nov. 12, 2019 Vox article.

I am tired of constantly being labeled as ungrateful or lazy just because of elders’ assumptions on my generation; it is time to let go of the tired old trope of “kids these days.”

However, the hostility is not one-sided. No matter what decade we are in, there seems to be a bitter rivalry between generations regarding topics ranging from rock music to political movements. 

More recently, Gen Z—born between 1997 to 2012—would commonly clapback with “OK, boomer,” to mock or dismiss older generations.

As a kid, I would always look through my parents’ old photo album and flip through pages filled with wacky hair, imagining what it would be like to grow up in the ‘70s or ‘80s. 

It’s easy to feel nostalgia for a time you’ve never experienced by looking at photos or watching old movies. 

When watching retro movies, such as “Dazed and Confused,” I feel intense jealousy over how the characters dressed and the music they listened to.

However, one of the many things I have come to realize and love about Gen Z is the recycling of old fashion trends and music.

Unlike previous decades, Gen Z tries to collect older music and clothing trends. Our eclectic tendencies allow us to dress in whichever way we please and listen to music from any time period thanks to platforms such as Apple Music and Spotify. 

I love listening to more modern music, such as Cage The Elephant and The Neighbourhood, but I also appreciate that I can have The Smiths, Fleetwood Mac and Eagles all on the same playlist.

Older generations, such as Gen X and Baby Boomers, tend to look down on Gen Z because we are too “lazy” and only care about our phones, according to a Feb. 14, 2018 article by Esquire.

These assumptions are partly due to the fact that Gen Z was born into the age of technology. Many of my formative years were spent deep-diving through YouTube videos that were not necessarily age-appropriate and making iMovies with sock monkeys.

Although early access to technology came with its own challenges, it allowed me to be creative from a young age and helped me discover healthy ways of expressing myself. 

Although many may see my generation’s close relationship with the internet in a negative light, I view the internet as a tool to help broaden my education and perspective.

Because Google makes information more accessible, anyone is able to stay up-to-date on not just current events in the U.S. but all over the globe.

It is because of the internet that younger generations are able to form more well-rounded perspectives about the world we live in and create the change we need rather than trusting the information given to them by adults who are prominent in their lives.

There is a reason why Gen Z is the most progressive generation yet. Compared to other Republicans, Gen Z Republicans are more likely to admit there is racial inequality and claim the government should do more to stop climate change, according to a May 14, 2020 Pew Research Center article

Being able to independently think from such a young age sets this generation apart from others. Those who can think independently have the confidence to take action and focus on problem solving, according to a Dec. 14, 2021 Entrepreneur article.  

If everyone were a carbon copy of their parents and were unable to think for themselves, it would be impossible to form meaningful connections and discover their true interests.

Gen Z is on track to be the best-educated generation yet with 57% of 18- to 21-year-olds enrolling in college, compared to 43% of Gen X, according to a May 14, 2020 Pew Research Center article

As my generation grows older, we can use our knowledge and focus to effect real change. Our abilities to spread awareness are much less limited due to the internet and social media. 

Young activist Greta Thunberg—who was also named TIME’s 2019 person of the year—has been making big waves through her various protests. 

Her most notable demonstrations were her global climate strikes in which she would skip school and camp out in front of the Swedish parliament, according to a 2019 TIME article.

Her efforts made a global impact and spread significant awareness. It is inspiring that a normal teenage girl is able to foster real change and gives me hope for our generation.

UVM students in recent years have called on the University to reform their handling of sexual violence. Organized walkouts, passionate Instagram posts and viral TikToks helped spread the dire message not just to other UVM students but those across the nation, according to a May 4, 2021 Vermont Cynic article.

We must move forward and seek the change we want. Many are quick to complain about how technology has “ruined this generation,” but technology is the very tool that allows us to comprehend and change the state in which we live. 

Both older and younger generations need to try and see things from one another’s perspective and accept that while age gaps may lead to a difference in opinion, no one generation is superior to another.

During my early adolescence, I often wished to be born in another time so I could experience life without a cell phone and social media, but I have now come to love being a part of Gen Z.

I don’t know who I would’ve been without watching Smosh and Minecraft YouTube videos as a kid, or how I would have bonded with my middle school friends without memes and making cringe-worthy videos on Musical.ly.

Gen Z is a powerful and creative force that will be making a difference in the years to come. 

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