Generation What?

"baby" by mulan is licensed under Creative Commons

There are a lot of words tossed around when it comes to our generation. “Millennials,” “igeneration,” and just plain old “generation z” are among the top contenders. But it’s time to settle the score: what are people born in 1999 and 2000?’

According to the Huffington Post, Millennials are people who became young adults in the year 2000, whereas Generation Z are those born after 1995. But some experts say that the age range for Millennials ends in 2000, putting the newest crop of young adults in a weird position and identity. 

First, it’s important to understand why we use names to describe generations in the first place. The reason is mainly linked to the study of social sciences, and those who come of age together, as well as the general characterizations of them. It’s also used in marketing techniques. The practice dates back to the early to mid 20th Century, with the first generation — Generation GI — coming into the vernacular to describe the generation of people who fought in World War 1. (These were also people dealing with government corruption and growing up during the Prohibition Era.)

Most generation names have some sort of correlation between their name and the time period in which they became adults. For example, Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980, is characterized by being more realistic than the previous generation, and are sort of an “in-between” generation. They became adults in the financial crisis’ of the 1990s and 2000s, and the effects of these are shown in this generation being relatively tech savvy but less financially stable, as noted by JP Morgan.

So where does that put us? I was born in January of 2000, so I can’t lay any claim to being a ’90s kid, despite growing up watching TV shows from that decade. Since the name is still up for grabs, I have a few opinions about how we should be remembered. 

First of all, my generation is very depressed. This may be due to the situations we’ve grown up in, wars, Donald Trump and education reform. But despite this, we’re still hopeful. We may not be able to affect any political change through voting (yet), but we talk about the reforms we want. As we get to the voting age, I hope we’re able to actually create some changes.

Two, we love technology. As devices get smarter and more widespread, so do we. This may not be the best thing, but hey, it helps us help our families figure out their brand new smartphones. Social media is the new way of connecting, both locally and across great distances. It’s how we find out news, talk to friends and family, and have fun.

But are we really millennials? I mean, technically, we were born into the new millennium. But how can a bunch of teenage barely adults ruin all these industries? Most of us aren’t even out of high school yet. But if there’s one thing I know about teenagers, especially now, is that we don’t like to be lumped in.

So in short, no, I don’t believe I’m a millennial. Call me whatever new name they come up within a couple years, but I hope we’re able to create our own shared identity for ourselves.

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