21st-century American culture has become pretty negative, have you noticed? There is always something or someone to complain about and it often seems like life is a never-ending, ever-present list of problems that never shrinks.
Generation Z takes a considerable amount of criticism from outsiders and insiders alike. “They’re too lazy, they’re constantly on their phones, they miss class and work just because they feel like it”. These are some of the common complaints from our elders. We even criticize ourselves from time to time, looking at our financial instabilities and failure to live up to our own standards as a weakness. Each generation faces its own host of problems but manages to come up with new and better ways to face them. Here are five ways Gen Z is doing just that:
1. We’re entrepreneurs.
While it is annoying on occasion, it’s hard not to appreciate the drive behind our peers’ self-promotion online. Whether it’s advertising health and beauty products on Instagram stories, inviting friends to like an art page on Facebook, or selling fashion, this generation is striving to become self-made. We’re becoming more business-minded in our daily endeavors, learning from our journey, and it’s setting us up for big-time success.
2. We’re using our platforms for good
Instagram, among other social networks, has evolved from a selfie-sharing hub to a battle cry. Sure, social media spreads negativity as fast as positivity, but we’re choosing to focus on the positive side here! It has never been easier to share posts, images, statistics, words, breaking news—anything, really—that we feel is important. Our social media accounts allow us to be heard, at least online. Social media is a way to exercise our freedom of speech and desire to improve the laws and norms that govern us.
3. We’re doing our best to educate ourselves on present dilemmas.
Mental health, intersectionality, financial literacy, and the current political/global climate are a select few from the wide spectrum of glaring issues this generation is faced with. Reading conflicting views on a given issue provides a more nuanced look into complicated conversations and there’s no better way to do that today than through social media, as mentioned above. The world is an overwhelming place, but we still have a desire to learn as much about it as we can and use the mistakes of the past as an opportunity to do better.
4. We’re thinking in realistic terms.
That realism is oftentimes mistaken for pessimism. We can’t afford to idealize the world or give up on it altogether; dreams are achieved only through hard work. Planning for the long-term means making sacrifices, doing what’s best for us, and understanding that not everyone is going to understand the choices we make.
5. We’re learning to avoid toxic relationships.
Be it romantic, platonic, family, or work relationships, this generation is all about cutting the crap from daily life. We know we deserve better and we’re not afraid to quit a job or a friendship when it starts taxing our mental health. It isn’t laziness—it’s a healthy dose of self-respect and it can be infectious when encouraged to spread.