Opinion: Generation Y is more than just a large ego

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Undeserved praise, escapism and a sense of entitlement are all common phrases used to describe the millennial generation known as “Generation Y.” There has been a recent burst of articles describing an epidemic of narcissism in the generation of those born between 1980 and into the 2000s. From a Fox News article by American psychiatrist, Keith Ablow, titled “We are raising a generation of deluded narcissism” to a local opinion piece about this generation’s “self-esteem issues” by a reporter in Prescott, these stories on Generation Y’s delusions of pride are widespread among the media.

Many of these speculations about the newer generation have come from the new analysis of the American Freshman Survey. This survey has collected information from nine million young adults across the country for the past 47 years The survey states college students call themselves gifted and are driven to succeed more so than past generations, even though their test scores and time spent studying are decreasing. Professionals such as Keith Albow or Jean Twenge, who wrote the book, Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled and More Miserable Than Ever, have argued this generation has been told too many times they are “special” and have been given too much praise and confident boosters. Yet, while the survey says Generation Y thinks highly of themselves, this generation can be considered to be “unique” because the millennial generation has shown a much more optimistic and tolerant attitude than past generations, according to multiple surveys such as one from Millennials Rising.

The trends that follow the millennial generation are world travel, volunteering, charity and extracurricular activities. This generation has been fed the idea they have to get an edge on competition, they have to do the most they can and be the best they can. Thinking highly of one’s self and being driven go hand and hand. Self-love is part of survival and a person has to have a high confidence level if they want to make an impression in the work force.  According to the data collected through these surveys, the millennial generation has an increasing number in volunteer work and even volunteer work abroad. Twenge stated this generation can have narcissists who lack empathy, overreact to criticism and favor themselves over others. Yet, when asked to describe themselves in surveys the millennial generation has defined themselves as empathetic, civil-minded and as having a want to help others and contribute to society. According to the data in Millennials Rising, through the newer generation there has actually been a decline in rates of teen pregnancy, early sexual intercourse, alcohol abuse and youth crime.

In the past, students went to college and were promised a good-paying, professional career once they graduated. Now the millennial generation has to struggle to even get a mediocre paying position even with a degree, intern experience and extracurricular activities strapped to their belt. This generation is considered the undeserved, entitled group even though they are thrown into a gladiator fight for a good job.

This generation might have a boosted ego, but this generation is also the one that has to deal with the struggling job market, the generation that puts a large value on helping others and giving back and the generation that can keep up with a fast-paced, technological world.



Coconino Community College
Student Housing at NAU