"Millennials are self-entitled individuals," these are the words stated by Philippine Star Campus Editor-in-Charge Vberni Regalado as he, together with a roster of motivational young speakers, conducted a seminar to talk about the career path, hardships, and traits of a Filipino millennial.
While Regalado's words have yet to be validated and be shown beyond doubt for other generations to entirely comprehend, I, myself, as part of that so-called "self-entitled" generation, will also try to deconstruct common misconceptions as to the very characteristics of millennials.
Four years ago, the famed American magazine called TIME Magazine released an article titled "The Me Me Me Generation" tagging millennials as lazy, entitled, selfish, and shallow individuals.
The said article presented cold-hard data and based on their findings, millennials are: fame-obsessed, self-confident of their own greatness, three times most likely to have the incidence of narcissistic personality disorder, experiencing developmental problems, and, the best of all, if not, by far, the most painful comment, millennials are lazy.
The article's points really hit me well. Sometimes, we, as millennials, really fitted in one of those categories. But being under those negative adjectives, one can't argue that we are not helping enough to contribute solutions to some of the pressing concerns in society. However, from time to time, I have come to realize, from my own contemplation, that this generation, our generation perhaps, have been proven efficient and substantial.
Little did I know that listing down overarching key messages before going through the writing phase of a column can actually help you decide how your opinion piece would like.
I was there, in my Business and Economics Journalism class, jotting down possible main points to discuss on what makes millennials different from previous generations. And there, I realized, upon careful reflection, that millennials are really passionate, risk-takers, and adaptable.
To the guys who still remember what life was like before accessing to WIFI and young enough to take the lead in technological advancements, they believe that their passion matters the most above anything else.
For a young millennial like me who has not proven anything valuable yet in life, I believe that our desire to do the things that we really want to do in our lives allows us to keep on doing great things.
Just a short story, I have been asked by a guidance staff during our career assessment session on how should I respond to the calling of a company which offers low salary but still considerable enough to finance my everyday needs. With an open mind and without any hesitation, I answered: "I will accept it as long as I am happy and contented in doing my job."
During those times, I have come to a point in my life wherein I value happiness and contentment over material things. I have put those two above my own hierarchy of needs than money and earthly luxuries, valuing precious experiences and savoring life's greatest moments than owning material things which I can only grasp for only a limited period of time.
Although millennials are tech-savvy individuals addicted to the latest updates of smartphones and its applications, it does not make them less of a person than the previous generation as they use technology to their advantage, enhancing the status of their life and career.
Dream big, and invest big on it -this is the mindset of some millennials who, during the process, end up being satisfied in their lives, or, in one way or another, end up in the corner feeding on the negative vibes as the outcome of their actions become a failure. Unfortunate as it may seem, this is the reality that most of us breathe in - we take big risks.
Millennials take risks almost every time that they have the chance to, not considering the consequences and repercussions of their actions should their plans gone off the road and went in reverse.
On the contrary, I, however, believe that it is a good characteristic to have as taking risks also equates to opening a huge door of various possibilities and chances. Good news if they succeeded, but should they fail, they bring out their coping mechanisms entirely aiming to adapt.
Millennials still try to cope and adapt to whatever hardship and setbacks they face. Through time, they have been scarred, but molded through life-long struggles, making them versatile and flexible individuals.
Stress and pressure are also one of their friends and enemies, but no matter how severe the situation will be, millennials will shrug those off and still try their best to stand up, fix things, and be focused on the things that usually drive them to be the best version of themselves.
To us, passion matters. It is something that worth taking risks for so we can adapt to this harsh and fast-changing environment. Millennials do not dwell on the things that they can't do. Instead, they focus on the things that they can do and have control of.
You see, we can do something positive too beyond just wanting constant approval from the photos and posts that we present in our social media accounts. Millennials are optimists and pragmatic idealists, committed to becoming a thinker than a dreamer. They trust the system, and still can enact change, continuously finding a way to hack life's greatest secrets.
(First published on The LANCE's September Issue)