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January 25, 2014

On the Go: In defense of millennials, the janitorial generation


This sense of caution earns us the labels “lazy,” “entitled” and “snobbish.”  We are going to smell every rose and have a nice time doing it. We aren’t going to race into marriages that inevitably crumble or pick the first major we recognize. We are testing the waters and trying things out. 

While it might take us a few more years to marry or graduate, come check on us in a few decades when we still love our spouse and career. The self-control necessary to wait and plan shows enough maturity to heftily outweigh the few years we take for introspection.

Our narcissism and entitlement are misinterpreted. 

 The average model is skimpier than she was before and the average American is larger. 

 We’ve had to fight for every shard of self-acceptance. 

 We’ve second-guessed every consideration of self-love. Some call us narcissists; I’d call us survivors. 

Millennials who can be comfortable in their own skin has won a battle that began before they were born. That’s admirable and rare. In the same way we’ve had to fight for our self-image, we’ve had to fight for our status. 

The Great Recession stunted our naivety and forced us to take control. We got our own jobs and paid for our own gas. We applied for scholarships and agreed to pay interest. While school funds were cut and the one percent jollied, we fought for our niche to succeed. We aren’t entitled. We are proud of our efforts and meet challenges with enthusiasm.

These traits seem oddly familiar. Each generation faces challenges. Each generation is different. Yet our similarities are what bind us together. You went through the Great Depression or the Great Recession. You learned on a type writer or a tablet. We endure these hardships and incorporate new technology. We grow and adapt. 

The repetition of these experiences create a diverse and yet cyclic series of generations. Together we form a national family and make up the American spirit.  

Katherine Ahearn is a junior at Unatego Junior-Senior High School. ‘Teen Talk’ columns can be found at




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