By Donovan Ortiz and Wil Portillo:
Generation Y, millennials, the digital natives—there are many names for people born after 1980 and many jokes and memes about this generation’s stereotypical behavior. At Amarillo College, many students can relate to tweets such as this one from @Nasharchy: “Millennial culture is spending what little money you have on nerd s*** that makes you happy as the world falls apart around you.” Regardless of what they are called, this age group has been the subject of negativity and stereotypes that some millennials say are fairly accurate.
“I sometimes feel like we’re actually snowflakes,” Nancy Godinez, a physical therapy major, said. “We’re unique in so many ways and we’re also easily offended. It’s crazy.”
One common characteristic of millennials is their use of technology. Social media has kept millennials on top of everything. They gather and share information using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and all the technology available has created a need for instant gratification and recognition. Most millennials devote time to checking and updating their statuses to prove that they are doing something noteworthy.
“I have people in my class who show up and have to take a selfie to say where they are,” Dr. Elizabeth Rodriquez, a psychology professor, said. “It’s like why, why do you have to have approval–people to say, ‘Oh that’s such a good picture.’”
Millennials aren’t just using technology to connect with friends; they are making it a part of their lives. According to Rodriquez, the need for a participation trophy or applause has become a norm for everything millennials accomplish. Millennials have to feel like what they are doing is significant, she said.
AC’s Stephanie Decker, a member of the age group called Gen X and a social science professor, has seen a change in the collegiate world from when she was a freshman. The dynamic of teacher-student relationships has changed, according to Decker “I didn’t communicate with my professors because they were scary,” Decker said, adding that when she went to college, there was a large division between students and professors. In recent years, a push for student involvement has created closer relationships. Now students have their professor’s email, office phone number and sometimes cellphone number.
Another difference between the two generations is “Collaboration vs Competition,” according to Decker. She said when she was in college, the Gen X students were very competitive–always trying to earn their spot over another, which led to poor group projects and a lack of study groups. In the millennial generation, Decker has seen a sharp increase in teamwork among the students. Some suggest this is due to such a presence of social media in the student life. Team work, technological know-how and caring are frequently found millennial traits.
“I don’t believe we are what people put as out to be,” Jose Sanchez, a biology major, said. “I think people should stick to their own values and not worry about anyone else.”
Decker said she would like to give millennials at AC some advice, “Keep your head down and get through the tough parts and you’ll be fine.”