‘Millennial’ has turned into a bit of a dirty word.
Depending on who you ask, the millennial generation can include people born from the late 70s to the early 2000s. Colloquially, though, ‘millennial’ tends to be used as a catch-all term for young people, like myself, who are edging into adulthood. And it’s a word loaded with the implication that we are a tech-obsessed, narcissistic generation that has grown up with participation trophies and the expectation that the world will provide for us.
In reality, I don’t think anyone who knows a millennial gives any credence to this perspective. Sure, there are exceptions, but most young people are hard-working and cynical. Still trying to find our feet, we’re given responsibility for a world that doesn’t seem to have space for us – job hunts are a minefield where experience and exposure are valid forms of payment; our inability to lay down big investments on property is blamed on small indulgences like avocados rather than market inflation; politicians pose plebiscites about human rights issues instead of making seemingly obvious changes. If news articles are to be believed, our generation has ruined everything from the wine industry to the entire concept of democracy. Technology means we are hyper-exposed to every terrible thing that happens worldwide.
And yet, despite everything, there’s this incredible sense of optimism. Millennials are critical, engaged, and passionate. We hit back against all these negatives with action and inspiration, committed to leaving the world a better place than we found it. For every news article that condemns millennials as lazy or self-obsessed, there’s a slew of Kickstarters, protests, petitions and support networks to prove just how wrong that is. Maybe it’s that we know exactly how tough the world is. Our generation is better connected and informed than ever before, and we take that as motivation to make a difference.
The Millennials Project aims to combat the stereotypes and give a voice back to a generation coming of age. We want to highlight the contradictions we face in our rapidly changing society, and start the conversations about the ways we interact with our world and each other. Tell us what’s been inspiring you, what’s been troubling you, and what you’re going to do about it.
Georgia Coldebella is part of the Grattan Street Press team in Semester 2, 2017. She’s a twenty-something writer, editor, etc. and spends way too much time on the internet.
The Millennials Project is created by Grattan Street Press, an initiative of the Publishing and Communications program in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. If you’re under thirty and want to contribute to the Millennials Project, go to https://grattanstreetpress.submittable.com/submit, or pitch to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.