The Hateful Generalization of the Millennials

20 Dec

As of December 18, 2013, this author became a graduate of the University of Kansas. 

This moment is really exciting, and I want to thank everyone who congratulated me on my Author Facebook Page as well as my Twitter. In fact, the University of Kansas was even on my Twitter and Facebook. Here are two pictures:

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 1.29.55 PM



I could not thank everyone enough. Your encouragement does mean a lot. But today I want to talk about how I feel now that I’ve completed my undergraduate degree. I hope my opinion doesn’t offend any one because it is meant to be helpful. It’s honestly what I wish I was told when entering college in 2009.

I feel accomplished but not in the way I thought I would feel. 

In fact, two weeks ago I would’ve labeled myself as depressed. Now, this is normal during a transitional phase, but I was surprised that I could not find any information on the specific things that I was crestfallen about.

Time ticks forward.

Time ticks forward.

I was sad because I felt like I wasted my time, money, and energy at college. On top of that, when I reached out to society for help or support, I was met with a hateful generalization of the Millennials. Everyone knows the stereotypical definition of people born between 1980 and 2000.

If we went to college, we are labeled as entitled idiots with debt. If we don’t go to college, we are labeled as lost idiots that are lazy.

As a graduate, I do not expect a salary right out of school. I work hard – every day – and I am proud of my resume. I also know I am not alone in this. In today’s world, my story isn’t special, so I’m not going to go into details about it. The economic situation is far from comfortable, but I am tired of seeing a majority of discouraging articles directed at my generation.

I am not saying the situation is not our faults. I am not saying the situation is the faults of those before us. What I am saying is totally different.

Why are we spending so much time hating on the generations before and behind us instead of fighting to fix the issues together? 

We aren’t going to resolve anything by pointing fingers. Instead of theorizing about our economic situation or discouraging graduates and working adults, we should be encouraging everyone to continue to work hard.

Now, on the other hand, I am somewhat disappointed in the education system.

Out of all of my classes and professors, I can probably only remember a couple that I truly enjoyed and learned in-depth from. That is the truth. When I went to college, I thought it would FINALLY be the time for higher learning, challenging courses, and independent thinking. It wasn’t. Instead, it was a whole-lot of jumping through hoops and doing what I was told.

Education, at every level, is an institution for the masses rather than a support system for individualism.

Do not get me wrong. I certainly appreciate my opportunity to have participated in the higher education system. I would only like to see it improve. One week ago, I would’ve blamed my depression solely on college, but now that I look back, I know that it is more about what is happening in the world today economically, socially, and politically.

Simply put, the point of this article is to encourage everyone in and out of the Millennials to be positive about the future and work hard to get there. We will all get ahead if we stop pushing everyone down as we go. We need to support one another to move forward.

I enjoy Isaac Newton’s quote, If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.

We are the giants. We must let the generations behind us stand on our shoulders instead of crushing their dreams beneath our feet.

The greatest lessons I learned were from those mentors and teachers who allowed me to stand on their shoulders.


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43 Responses to “The Hateful Generalization of the Millennials”

  1. MissUnderstood Genius December 20, 2013 at 12:18 am #

    Congratulations Shannon!! :) Moving forward is what keeps one going…as we cant build a future if looking in the past.

  2. Caron Eastgate Dann December 20, 2013 at 12:18 am #

    Well said, Shannon, and I agree will all your points, especially that we should all stop blaming each other. As a tertiary educator, I deplore some of the things I see: bigger and bigger classes, less individual time for students, most of us employed as “adjuncts” or “sessionals” on hourly rates as if we were doing casual shift-work, no time allocated for course coordinators to update their material even. One of the ways this can change is if students speak their mind, as you have. Unfortunately, most students just put up with it, and never complain officially. If a large number of students wrote to the university airing these views, it might make a difference.

    • Shannon A Thompson December 20, 2013 at 6:41 am #

      Thank you so much for sharing this! I was actually nervous how teachers might take it, because I am not against teachers at all. I don’t believe it’s their fault. In fact, I have a couple of friends that are teachers who also want change. One of my teachers discussed how kids in the middle are always forgotten because the ones who are extremely gifted or who need extra help get special attention. I think these things can be fixed.
      I wonder if there is a website for students and teachers to come together in order to send letters like this? Maybe one should be created that explains where to go and who to send letters to. Change needs to happen. I know everyone is in difficult times, but it doesn’t always have to be so difficult.
      Thank you again.

      • Caron Eastgate Dann December 20, 2013 at 8:25 am #

        Hi Shannon. Yes, that’s a good idea, and I certainly love to hear students’ views, and to make changes based on student feedback. I still think the most effective way of bringing about change is for students to directly contact their university, and particularly the faculty and department they have been studying with. One might not make a difference: but it has to start somewhere! If, say, 50 wrote in the same year, that might make the university sit up and take notice. Well, congratulations on graduating—it is a great achievement.

  3. spicejac December 20, 2013 at 12:27 am #

    Education needs to change, and adapt. There are millions of children being left behind because they are failing tests, but schools don’t have enough funding to support these children. Imagine what would happen if money and resources were dedicated in sufficient quantities to ensure that each and everyone of us, had access to free quality education. We would as a human race, move mountains.

    • Shannon A Thompson December 20, 2013 at 6:45 am #

      That is very true! Just last month I turned on the news and Missouri (I live on the border of Missouri and Kansas, so this was a HUGE deal to me) has a district that is no longer an accredited public school system since their grades are so bad. The worst part? They were not allowing kids to transfer out of the district to schools that are accredited. In that story, I was astounded by how the news was blatantly showing how education was a system of classes and how much no one seemed to care. I wouldn’t mind if the kids didn’t want to leave the school so they could work, but they should’ve allowed those who wanted a chance at higher education to leave.

      • spicejac January 1, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

        That is unbelievable – I’m in Australia, and find it hard to believe that the governments would allow a public school system to fall into such disrepair. It shows such a lack of foresight, how will the children learn and develop essential life skills, if the administrators allow this to happen? It’s so important especially for people who can’t afford to send their children to private schools, for governments to run public schooling that supports and allows our future generations to gain skills that they desperately need in this ever changing world of ours.

        They (whoever is responsible) are probably worried that if they allow kids to transfer they would end up with no one in the actual school system.

  4. Carole Avila December 20, 2013 at 1:03 am #

    Well stated!
    ~Carole Avila

  5. Russ L December 20, 2013 at 2:04 am #

    Hey Shannon,

    I found grad school was much better for having my independence acknowledged, mentored and encouraged.

    • Shannon A Thompson December 20, 2013 at 6:47 am #

      I have heard this. Unfortunately, I also heard this going into middle school, then high school, then college. So this statement makes me weary. It’s also a money issue. I could barely get my undergraduate without mountains of debt. If I go to graduate school, it will have to be much later. But thank you for sharing. If you would elaborate as to how grad school was much better, I would be really interesting in hearing why.

      • Russ L December 20, 2013 at 7:19 am #

        Hi Shannon,

        When you go to grad school, you specialize in a field which has more meaning to you, (for example, for me that would be a Masters in Fine Arts) so all of your classes are in your favorite field rather than having to satisfy general requirements as well. The class size is smaller so you have more one on one with your professors. You would also take independent study courses where you can explore those things in your major which have most meaning for you. Finally, you have the opportunity to “break new ground” in your field by formulating and defending a Master’s or Doctoral Thesis. When you do this, you get to work closely with those people who are eminent in your field, ofttimes those people are the professors in your program but you also find yourself collaborating with those same kind of people outside of the school you go to. Of course, nowadays, you can do the same things without a grad degree. You just don’t have the initials behind your name. :)

      • Shannon A Thompson December 20, 2013 at 7:24 am #

        Thank you very much for elaborating. I truly appreciate it. It helps me, and I hope it helps other people who might be reading through the comments.

  6. Roxie Wojcik December 20, 2013 at 2:06 am #

    I told you that I’m the honest type so I’ve decided to respond to your article. My daughter is from the age group with which you speak. We are not wealthy, yet she dreamed of, and wanted to go to college, so I made a deal with her early on that if she focused on earning scholarship money, not on partying or working, that I’d give her spending money and we would pay for whatever college monies she did not earn by way of scholarships. Needless to say, she didn’t let us down and although not cheap, we paid for her food and dorm fees and she won the rest through hard work to a small prestigious college. She had serious health issues along the way, yet maintained better than a 3.0 throughout. We are extraordinarily proud of her accomplishments and her achievements. But I have to say that not once in all of that time, or since, have I heard anyone bash/ trash/ or demean the character of any of the hard working students that went the college route within this or any age bracket and I’ve been around for quite awhile. I do not think that a specific age bracket suffers from verbal abuse from mean spirited people any more than any other, because every age, color, height, weight, abnormality or perfection can pretty much tell you a story of where they feel that they’ve been the center of unwanted negative attention. Granted, your education wasn’t cheap, so perhaps you feel that you have more reason than others to be upset, but nevertheless, you do not stand alone. It saddens me that you were depressed and also that you did not step right into a dream job of your choosing, as it saddens me about so many others of all walks of life that carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. Perhaps it’s a really crappy expression, but one that I live by and that I’ve taught my children to live by and they say it helps…choose your battles. If you whine and complain all the time, people won’t listen, so think real hard before you make a stand, so that when you want to be heard, people will listen. If you can’t see the world in a positive light, how do you expect people to treat you in a positive way. If you have this negative weight on your shoulders, a perspective employer worth their salt is going to see it, and no matter what your grades were, they won’t hire you. I hope you take this in the context it was meant, not to hurt you or to be spiteful, but to let you know that you aren’t alone and there are people that care about you everywhere. Congratulations on your degree! Even though I don’t necessarily agree with the contents of your article, it was well written, Good luck in your endeavors. And smile, you’re just getting started :)

    • Shannon A Thompson December 20, 2013 at 6:55 am #

      Thank you for sharing your story, but I just want to clarify that this article was written with the intention to help other graduates and people of my generation who felt depressed after leaving. I am no longer depressed. I clarify that in the article. I am not complaining in my mind because I laid out clear goals as to how we can get better as a whole. You may not have heard all of the hate that goes around, but that happened to me – constantly. I even had a professor ask why we were even bothering with getting a degree in an economy like this. It was disheartening. I was sharing my experiences and how I overcame it in the hopes to help – not whine. I think the world is a beautiful place. I love school, reading, and everything else. But I also think that I can call for a change without being deemed a negative person. As for an employer, I am hardworking, focused, young woman with ambition and goals. I have never slacked off. I do not feel like I should be awarded for this, but I am proud of my resume, and I am continuing to work very hard with a positive attitude.

  7. RigoHC December 20, 2013 at 2:11 am #

    It seems every new generation of young Adults gets trashed in one way or another by the last ones certainly this one but also gen x ”slackers” before even the baby boomers if they can remember also were all the way back to the ”lost generation” probably before then, it’s an american tradition like blaming the newest immigrant group even if you belong to a previously scapegoated group it’s quite convenient to the system always easier to blame lazy young people or whoever than address underling systematic problems in society/the economy

    • Shannon A Thompson December 20, 2013 at 6:56 am #

      That is very true! I often talk to my father about that. My generation is not alone in being told they won’t make it. That is a great point to add. Thank you.

  8. elementul huliganic December 20, 2013 at 3:07 am #

    Reblogged this on Karma's little spanker.

  9. First Night Design December 20, 2013 at 3:36 am #

    Hear, hear! This has always been the problem with education and those who profess to have our best interests at heart.

  10. ahamin December 20, 2013 at 4:25 am #

    Congrats. Here’s to more to come. :)

  11. elizjamison December 20, 2013 at 5:36 am #

    Fantastic. I love your thoughts and have shared on Twitter with all my past students who are about to graduate from college. And congrats! What a double accomplishment for you this semester. Now go home for Christmas and take a break! (Or not…like Cormac McCarthy says, he “writes on days he’s inspired and he’s inspired every day”).

    • Shannon A Thompson December 20, 2013 at 6:57 am #

      Thank you for reading and sharing! I hope it helps students feel less alone and allows them to come out of the slump I was in. I am off to enjoy the holidays! Happy holidays to you, too!

  12. Charles Yallowitz December 20, 2013 at 5:42 am #

    I think the finger pointing comes a lot from one generation having different methods than other generations. What a millennial sees as a rational request or action, a baby boomer might see as lazy. A baby boomer’s actions might seem ridiculously unnecessary for a millennial. Technology doesn’t help this. I’m saying this as a millennial who lives with a baby boomer and we’re always butting heads on methods.

  13. photosfromtheloonybin December 20, 2013 at 6:03 am #

    Very well said!!

  14. Jack Flacco December 20, 2013 at 6:57 am #

    Congrats on a job well done!

  15. scentfragrance December 20, 2013 at 7:18 am #

    Congratulations Shannon on your graduation!


    You aren’t alone in your feelings. I graduated in May 2013 and like you, I experienced all these feelings during my transition phase. I think I might have been depressed. A few times, I cried in the middle of lunch because I did not know what my future would be like and I did not see a bright future ahead. I asked myself, “What have I gotten from college? Am I more knowledgeable than before? Does it help me in getting a job?” I just don’t…see a future :(

    • Shannon A Thompson December 20, 2013 at 7:22 am #

      Thank you! And congrats to you as well :] I am glad that students are speaking out about how they feel before, during, and after graduation. Thank you for sharing because I am sure it will help other students see they are not alone.

  16. jjames36 December 20, 2013 at 8:33 am #


    And agreed!

  17. kbeck13 December 20, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    What a great article. I went to college a couple times and still haven’t managed to finish. What I did’t like was the fact that you have to fill up on two years of classes that don’t teach you your craft. I understand created well-rounded folks, but in earlier years they used to have apprenticeships and that makes more sense to me. I know I want to write, I don’t want to waste all that money and time for a degree I can’t use. It’s sad to me that we have to spend those two years getting gen-ed classes when we could be learning what we need to for our craft instead of filling in these arbitrary holes.

    If I want to learn more about psychology, I can read books on the subject. There’s so many ways to self educate if need be. I wish we could specialize in exactly what we need in order to pave a career path. I’m not great at math, but I can get by, so I don’t understand why I need all these math credits to learn about the craft of writing.

    I definitely understand how you’re feeling because so many people said to me that going to school for creative writing was silly. Frivolent. A waste of time. And then when I didn’t go to school at all, I felt like I was falling behind, or wasn’t smart or good enough for other people. That’s when I decided I needed to make a decision for me and chose to study writing on my own. I would like to go to school for it, but every formula and equation is time spent away from writing and I just can’t do it.

    • Shannon A Thompson December 20, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

      Thank you for sharing your story! I was also troubled by how much they want us to focus in Gen-Eds simply because we already did that in high school. In fact, most of my Gen-Eds were repetitive courses I had already taken. My last semester at college was the most confusing. I was only 9 hours short of my degree. When I signed up for English courses, they told me I could take them, but none of them would count toward the 9 hours because I had already finished my English requirements. Basically, they would cancel out. So instead of learning MORE about my field, I had to take 9 hours of “whatever I wanted” courses. It was completely illogical to me.

  18. Susannah Ailene Martin December 20, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    So, what are you going to do now?

    • Shannon A Thompson December 20, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

      I’m currently working as a Social Media Marketer, and I have my next novel releasing in March.

  19. merrildsmith December 21, 2013 at 6:12 am #

    Congratulations! My younger daughter graduated from college in May, and my older daughter is now in grad school. I know how hard they both have worked. I can’t imagine trashing an entire generation (or any other group, for that matter. :)

  20. Rebecca Lefler December 22, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    I agree that college is generally education for the masses, and that parts of it are not so different from high school.

    For students interested in a more individualistic college experience, they may want to look into whether their school has the option of an individual major. I took this route at UCLA and found it very satisfying. I had a particular interest in constitutional law, so I was taking classes in a bunch of different disciplines–a civil rights class in the history department, an equal protection class in the political science department, a trial-as-communication class in the communications department, etc. No particular major seemed to fit what I liked, and then I found out that students could design their own major through the honors department by writing the curriculum, getting it approved, proceeding under the supervision of a faculty advisor, etc. It was a nice way to take the classes I liked and still get credit for them, and an added bonus was once I got my degree in Constitutional Law employers really liked seeing it on a resume because it was different.

    I offer the suggestion here in case it might help any of your readers who are college students or parents of college students. It doesn’t seem to be a very well-known option, even at the places that have such programs.

    Congrats on your graduation, and I wish you all the best!

    • Shannon A Thompson December 22, 2013 at 9:33 am #


      Thank you VERY much for sharing this. I think this is great information for those looking for an individualized experiences, and I agree – I don’t think it’s a very well-known option. Sharing information like this can help hundreds of students. I really appreciate the time you took to share and explain your experience.

      And thank you for your congratulations!


  21. inspirational quote about life January 23, 2014 at 1:59 am #

    It’s awesome to pay a quick visit this site and reading the views of all friends about this article, while I am also keen of getting


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