Generation Z- known for nicotine addictions, an obsession with social media, memes and so many more. We haven’t exactly gained the best reputation among older generations. But, understandably so. They just haven’t realized we have so much more to offer than Kermit memes and new genders. Among our love of concerts, competitive work ethic, and other qualities Generation Z is much more complex than you may think. Here are some of the best parts of growing up in the unique and accepting, Generation Z.
Choosing experiences over material items
Older generations don’t fully understand the craze around music festivals and theme parks. But I know myself and many of my friends would much rather see their favorite artist in concert than to have an upgraded cell phone. Generation Z values experience over material items. Whether its finally getting a ticket to Coachella, planning a vacation or revisiting Disney World- Generation Z cannot get enough. My parents and grandparents recall only attending a few concerts when they were my age and didn’t feel compelled to go to many more. They don’t understand the fascination we have with live music, or the need to support our favorite artists so actively. With videos of almost every artist performing live online, as well as their active advertising of concert dates, Generation Z cannot bear to miss this experience in person. I can’t think of a time when concerts weren’t obsessed over, and I’m proud of that. Although we can be materialistic at times, I’m proud that the majority of people my age would rather spend their money on memories and experiences than a new outfit or fancy meal. Concerts, festivals, theme parks, and vacations are much more worth your while- you’ll create lifelong memories and probably be happier you went!
Can’t we all get along?
In the past, things like mental illnesses, going to therapy, and any other sort of struggles were brushed under the rug. One of my favorite parts of being a part of Generation Z is how accepting we have become. There have been movies made and celebrities have spoken about mental illnesses openly. Struggling is no longer something to be ashamed of, Generation Z says it is OK and completely normal. Silver Linings Playbook, The Perks of Being a Wallflower and 13 Reasons Why are just a few popular television shows and movies featuring main characters with mental illnesses. Portraying mental struggles as normal shows everyone it is acceptable to speak about these issues and deal with them openly. My parents, a mixed couple, had to deal with their parents’ judgments and discomfort with marrying someone outside of their own race and of contrasting cultures. Now, I cannot imagine facing nearly as much criticism as they received for being with someone physically different from my self. Generation Z is uncomfortably accepting and open about any and all differences among people, setting a great example for younger generations or anyone feeling outcasted.
Competing to win in our professional lives
Due to the increasing presence of technology in the professional world, we’ve been forced to become more competitive. My parents have explained to me that college was not necessary during their youth, you could still be successful without attending. Now, it’s relatively impossible to find an internship much less an entry-level job without some sort of bachelor’s degree. There are many fewer jobs available compared to when our parents were young adults, so we’ve been trained to work harder and become more well-rounded so that we can secure a job. It can be frustrating that only taking a few AP classes and joining a club or two are not enough in high school, but in the end, it’s more beneficial for us than anything. I can already see a difference between my high school experience four years ago and my younger sister’s now. I participated in a few sports and maintained a decent GPA, and that was enough. Meanwhile, my sister’s generation has much more pressure to exceed on the SAT, join as many clubs as possible, play sports, while also maintaining an impressive grade point average. Although I may have had an easier time being accepted to college, my sister will be much more prepared for and ambitious when entering the real world. Generation Z has become increasingly competitive, and it’s creating a generation of hard workers with the drive to succeed.
Information gathering is easy
Long gone are the days of making trips to the library solely for a single book. Generation Z has grown up with the ability to access anything from databases of academic journals to newspapers within the touch of a button. My parents are baffled that I am able to do immense research for school, all from the comfort of my bed. They had no choice but to purchase a library card, find a ride, and spend time physically looking for sources to contribute to their research papers. Our ease of access to such a broad range of information also makes us more skeptical of what we’re told. Whether it’s coming from a news station or our professors, Generation Z is not quick to assume we’re always being given correct information. I personally believe this is a strength we have because it makes us question everything we’re told in depth. Whether it’s the fake death of our beloved Justin Bieber or a politician’s past actions, you can be sure that Generation Z will double-check their facts before believing them.
Growing up learning phonics and playing math games on my parents’ desktop, I am no stranger to technology. Much like other Generation Z people, I have been raised on technology. Despite whether it was typing classes at school or wasting hours playing on Microsoft Paint, technology has always been a part of my life. I never have thought much of my ease of use with technology, until noticing that it does not come as naturally to my parents and grandparents. My mom did not learn how to type or navigate a computer until she was in the midst of college. I can’t imagine writing lengthy, college-level, papers by hand or just now learning to use Microsoft Office. While overconsumption of technology can be a negative thing, our ability to maneuver it and use it to aid us in every aspect of life is truly an advantage. Technology is something that will not be disappearing any time soon. It is a necessity for almost every single career and is even taking over some jobs. Generation Z’s ease of using and understanding technology gives us the upper hand in the job market and makes schoolwork much easier than it was for our parents.
Open to the world
Being too open about your life online can be dangerous, but to a certain extent, it is a good thing. Being far from home for college, technology and social media allow me to see updates in my family’s lives and photos of their experiences. My father, who attended college in a different country than his parents, had to rely on phone calls and letters to receive updates about his family and vice versa. Generation Z’s willingness to share so much about our lives makes it much easier to relate to each other as well as to connect with others from a distance. I’m thankful that many of my friends are so open about their lives online because it prevents self-deprecation. Often times, when we present only a portion of our lives or only the best parts online, it can lead to a more self-criticizing society. With casual Instagram’s and imperfect Tweets becoming trendy, we’re able to understand and relate to each other more easily. While scrolling through my Instagram explore page, it can be easy to feel about myself compared to another person’s life. But now, with Generation Z becoming so open online, people are open about their struggles and the imperfection in their lives. It takes a great deal of courage to be open and honest, especially to the public.