Millenials think fundamentally different than other generations

Kyra Kruger

Back when I wore pigtails and light-up sneakers, I remember having the standard conversation young children have with their parents.  You know the one, characterized by a touch of impetuousness and the long awaited ability to finally contemplate.  

“It’s bedtime,” my mother would say. 

“Why?” I respond. 

“Because It’s 8:00.”


“Because 8:00 is a good bedtime for kids.”


“Because you need lots of rest.”


“Because you’re growing.”


“Kyra, get in bed before I ground you.”

Most parents see this kind of exchange as an act of impudence, the annoying trifles of a child, and sometimes they are right. Sometimes they take the time to explain themselves, while other times they give my absolute least favorite of responses: “Because I told you so.”  This response is the first sign of resistance toward contemplation, the first sign of society telling you to take what’s given to you and ask for no more.  We are told again and again throughout our lives to accept that which is out of our control.  Tradition, whether cultural, societal or religious, has historically been the biggest foe of forward thinkers, because we are taught to respect it and accept it—we are taught to fit in.  

In each generation there are those who refuse to accept the status quo, and it is usually those people who lead the movements of forward progress, however they are often the minority.  In each decade the dreamers and the rebels pick up their weapons—their pens, their paint, their minds—and do battle to rewrite, repaint and reinvent history.  So this brings us to today.  Who of our ranks will fill this essential role? Well, for the first time in a long time, I do not believe it is that simple.  

Like the introduction of the printing press, the expansion of the Internet during our lifetime has revolutionized communication and the spread of ideas. Our generation is not a minority of progressives, but a host of converts joining together every day, people who heard of the cause on Facebook or YouTube or a blog or any of the millions of forms of instant communication to which we have access. Our generation is capable of finding and considering hundreds of perspectives on a single topic in a matter of minutes and the click of a search button.  We never lost our constant stream of whys after those early years, because now, we can get answers on our own.  

One of the triumphs of our generation is our focus on exploring different issues and finding new creative ways to solve them.  The value of an open mind has become one of the most important aspects of character as people have come to realize that there is more than one way of doing, thinking and succeeding. For example, the idea of political correctness, although it can be pushed to the extreme, is essentially founded in giving respect to everyone no matter their differences and ways of life. There is a reason our counterculture today, the hipsters, are like hippies with a twist and why their sermon is not of peace but originality.  The moral issues dealt with today run along the same lines as those in the 60’s, but we focus less on emotional appeal and more on how our intellect can solve problems.  Instead of free love, we preach free thinking.  

I come from a relatively liberal town in Massachusetts, and until I came to Villanova I had never met a person my age who outright disagreed with marriage equality. Being nonreligious at a Catholic school has led me to countless debates, but what has always impressed me is my peers’ ability to argue both sides of a debate and be willing to adjust their own personal views when hearing a persuading argument.  I have yet to meet someone here who refuses to consider another person’s point of view, and that says a lot in itself.  

Our generation faces many haters, if you will.  They say we’re too optimistic, that we don’t work hard enough, that most of us have had it too easy.  Some of these accusations may be true, but through my observations, I have seen that there is a push for a different kind of success than that of our parents or our grandparents.  We look not for stable work, but work we love.  Success is not measured by wealth but satisfaction.  We are a generation of philosophers, seeking the truth behind “The Good Life.”  Instead of gilded furniture and French wine, we hold our salons over cheap booze and hard-earned highs, through computer screens and across borders.  We may be optimistic, but we assume nothing.