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29 College Women Get Real About the Misconceptions of Millennials

Our generation gets a bad rap. We’ve been labeled “Generation Me” – full of narcissism (could it be from all those selfies we take?!). Others call us “Trophy Kids” — attributed to those ‘participation trophies’ we got when we were younger — and say it makes us feel entitled. And despite the good we’ve done, it gets totally overlooked in favor of thinking we are no more than people with their heads down, staring at their phones.

We know we are more than this. So 29 college women explained exactly what those who clump all millennials together and negatively label us are getting wrong.

“Start typing “Millennials are…” into the Google search bar and the AutoFill options that appear are “lazy, the worst, stupid.” Add the word “just” and Google suggests: “as racist as their parents.” I’d like to request a fact-check, because I’m living on a campus run almost entirely by brilliant, driven millennials. If we are just as racist as our parents, then perhaps Baby Boomers and Generation X might consider a good look in the mirror before pointing fingers. I see in millennials a generation of open-minded and passionate individuals. If we are “the worst” in any way, we are the worst at accepting ignorance for the sake of tradition. We are the worst at taking “no” for an answer, at giving up on our goals.”

-Carly, University of Massachusetts at Amherst Class of 2019

“The biggest misconception about millennials is that we are lazy and want everything handed to us on a silver platter. This isn’t true of everyone. There are a lot of times when I get flack because adults assume that I don’t want to work hard and that I don’t know very much because I don’t apply myself when that is not the case at all. Millennials can be such a huge asset to this society because we are tech savvy and so motivated but we can only apply that if we are given the chance.”

-Alyssa, St. Ambrose University Class of 2017

“I think one of the biggest misconceptions people have about millennials is that we are all about ourselves. As a millennial, I think it’s important to give back to my community in any way that I can.”

-Julianne, George Mason University Class of 2017

“They think we are too sexual, they think our generation is obsessed with sex and having sex! In fact we’re going to be healthier and more in the know when it comes to sex since we are more open about such topics. We’re going to have lower incidences of STIs since we know how to avoid them; we are going to have lower unwanted pregnancy since contraception is easier and cheaper to access.”

Saskia, University of Virginia Class of 2019

Related: Surprising New Find About Millennials & Sexuality

“One of the biggest misconceptions is the millennials’ obsession with technology and lack of respect for privacy. I actually just had an assignment regarding this topic for a class on social media. Yes, we take plenty of photos of our food and post them all over social media, but I found that, when it comes to the content of our personal profiles, we are more selective. I think that we are aware of how the Internet works — once something is out there, it can’t be taken back — and we have learned to protect and maintain our online identities, especially for the sake of potential employers.”

Emily, Fordham University Class of 2017

“People think that rebellion is our daily motto but they are wrong. We want to be successful, we want our work as a person, student and in the future as professional to matter, to have an impact on society. Just because we think differently than previous generations does not mean we are rebellious, we simply enjoy the differences and that is what makes us an exceptional generation.”

-Kimberly, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus Class of 2017

“I think that older adults perceive millennials as selfish and self-centered because of an increasingly social media-crazy society, and millennials are often at the helm of it. We’re the ones who use new apps first, we engage with more apps on average than older adults, etc. But I believe that older adults aren’t seeing that millennials actually want to use these platforms for good, and not just post photos of ourselves. We use them to share ideas, meet and connect with like-minded people, spread awareness of causes we care about (Ice Bucket Challenge, anyone?), and often, to build our portfolio and to find employment. I don’t think most millennials are lazy at all — we were handed a world with increasing problems, including fast-rising costs for education and declining employment rates, and many of us are just trying to find work that pays the bills, fulfills us in some way, and for many of us, I think, has a positive role in this world.”

-Alaina, Emerson College Class of 2017

“A giant misconception about millennials is that since we were born into modern technology that continues to be reinvented with our generation in mind, that we are unable to function without technology. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been made fun of by an older relative because I’d “die without my phone” or asked if I was texting the person sitting beside me who also happened to be on their phone.”

-Bryanna, University of Windsor Class of 2018

“I believe people, at times, misattribute our form of self-expression to personalities he or she does not possess. I am primarily referring to the strict professional settings imposed on people with tattoos and piercings. I, for example, get frustrated when I have to take off my nose piercing before an interview. It implies that interviewers will attribute my nose ring to some sort of negative personality trait. Our definition of professionalism should be based mostly on attitude and skills, and less on the ways we physically decorate ourselves. Self-expression should be promoted and not stereotyped.”

-Tasfia, Northwestern University Class of 2018

“They say we have a sense of entitlement, and I think that’s the furthest thing from the truth. There are people from every generation who feel entitled, so of course there are going to be millennials with that mindset. But that’s not all of us — not even close. We work hard, sometimes for almost nothing in return. We’re going to school for jobs that might not even be available once we graduate.”

-Caitlyn, Auburn University Class of 2017

“People assume that we are tech savvy. For the most part I’m sure many are. But not me. Nope.”

-Ruby, Texas A&M University Class of 2017

“Believing that millennials are too “politically correct” is a common misconception as well as just blatantly ignorant. The reason our generation tries so hard at being politically correct is because we were raised in a time of constant changes that are still happening in the socio-political world. We are reversing the “apathetic youth” stereotype and embracing diversity. The fact that we are trying to be politically correct shows that we are being educated on respecting different cultures and are just trying not to be as recklessly offensive as previous generations have been. Mistakes will be made but at least millennials are embracing equality and trying to be more open-minded.”

-Andrea, University of Florida Class of 2018

“The biggest misconception is that we are very antisocial. What a lot of people from the older generations don’t understand is that it’s not antisocial per se; it’s just a new form of socialization. We are able to communicate in seconds with people from all over the world for jobs, entertainment, and even just general newsgathering.”

-Milena, Miami University, Ohio Class of 2019

“Millennials are not ALL stuck up brats with no clue how to live their lives. My friends and I have been more involved on campus and in our work lives than my parents were at this age. I think we get a bad rap due to the flashy celebs associated with our generation.”

-Gabrielle, Syracuse University Class of 2018

Related: The Work Hard, Play Hard Schools

“I think a lot of people think we’re lazy, but really we need to work harder than ever to do the things older generations did before us. This includes paying for college, getting a job, and buying a house, among other things.”

-Rebecca, University of Maryland Class of 2017

“Entitlement! The biggest misconception I know of is that millennials feel entitled to do well or have expectations that their employers will just hand them things. Saturday Night Live’s recent skit with Miley Cyrus really bothered me. Stereotypes are given to everyone (even generations) and making them seem legitimate is a problem. P.S. Millennials do NOT spend all their free time on social media.”

-Angela, Georgetown University Class of 2016

“I believe that people are confused about how much pressure is actually on us. People tend to believe that because we have technology it makes everything easier but in actuality it makes things more difficult due to the fact that anything we say or post on social media can come back to bite us.”

-Alexa, Sacred Heart University Class of 2017

“Over and over again, I hear the prior generation complaining that we can’t communicate and spend too much time on selfies. But selfies have existed since forever — with Queen Elizabeth having her portrait painted, and artists travelling around with backgrounds pre-sketched so that when someone requested an oil pastel selfie they only had to add the person. There were train carts filled with people reading the newspaper rather than talking to each other. At least we’re texting our friends instead. I have friends in Israel and Australia — those relationships would have been impossible without technology. Our communications skills are improving.”

-Cole, SCAD Atlanta Class of 2017

“I think that the biggest misconception is that we are all arrogant and conceited. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of millennials out there that are, but really we’re just the same as every other generation. Some of the kindest, most selfless people I know are millennials. You can’t judge a person by the generation they belong to.”

-Meg, West Virginia Wesleyan College Class of 2019

“The biggest misconceptions people have about millennials is that we are all self-absorbed and constantly engage in risky behavior”

-Jackie, Christopher Newport University Class of 2016

“It’s assumed that we don’t follow current events. We are well aware of what is going on in the world and how it is going to affect our future.”

-Shannon, Stony Brook University Class of 2018

“I think people like to characterize millennials as lazy. I like to think that we’re efficient —always looking for the quickest and best method to complete a task rather than just taking the paved route.”

-Kelly, University of Michigan Class of 2017

“The biggest misconception is that we don’t understand money. With the massive student loans the millennials in college have, we are forced us to be smart about our spending.”

-Megan, Western Washington University Class of 2017

“People tend to think we have been ruined by technology but then expect our generation to be the ones running the social media accounts for their companies.”

-Lizzy, Marist College Class of 2016

“I think one of the biggest misconceptions about millennials is that we are addicted to our technology. While I do believe that some members of this generation have a hard time pulling themselves away from all things chargeable, it definitely isn’t true for all of us.”

-Olivia, University of North Carolina at Wilmington Class of 2018

“I think one of the biggest misconceptions people have about millennials is that we are lazy. Parents think that we still rely on them financially at times because we aren’t working hard enough to find jobs, however, the job market is more competitive now than it has ever been. I don’t think that parents realize that we are more stressed out about that than they are.”

-Anne, Clemson University Class of 2017

Related: 13 Experiences All College Girls Have, as told by Kim Kardashian

“The biggest misconception I’ve noticed is that we’re dumb. Yes, technology is easily at our fingertips and everything is getting faster, but that doesn’t mean we’re brain dead. Our generation is more forward thinking than ever before. Because we have access to higher technology, we’re able to use it to our advantage and make breakthroughs that weren’t possible before.”

-Niyah, University of Cincinnati Class of 2019

“I think the biggest misconception people have about millennials is that we don’t care about what is going on in the world around us and our history. It’s actually quite the opposite. We are a generation that experienced such rapid change in our economic, societal, technological and political landscapes in such a little time that we find ourselves actually constantly looking back so we can examine our history, learn from mistakes and figure out where to go from there.”

-Sarah, Montclair State University Class of 2017

“I find that many people believe that just because we are so technologically educated, we don’t enjoy the pleasures of face-to-face conversation or phone calls. Although many millennials do communicate with one another via text message, there are still people who would much rather pick up the phone or schedule to meet with someone for lunch.”

-Gabrielle, University of North Carolina at Wilmington Class of 2019

Cara Sprunk has been the Managing Editor of Her Campus since fall 2009. She is a 2010 graduate of Cornell University where she majored in American Studies with a concentration in cultural studies. At Cornell Cara served as the Assistant Editor of Red Letter Daze, the weekend supplement to the Cornell Daily Sun where she also wrote for the news and arts section and blogged about pop culture. In her free time Cara enjoys reading, shopping, going to the movies, exploring and writing.  
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