This past weekend, my brother graduated from the University of Maryland with a BS degree in computer science and I had the pleasure of attending his commencement ceremony at the College of Math, Engineering and Natural sciences, where professor Sylvester James Gates, a distinguished physics professor as well as mathematics professor was the guest speaker at the event. Professor Gates highlighted on the millennials generation and the many traits/qualities we have that make us different from previous generations. His points were so true and they hit me so hard (LOL), which I made the point to blog about them. After all, I found myself a great walking example of the generation he perfectly described.
For starters, I want to explain that I consider myself to be in the “millennial” generation although I was born in the late eighties. I grew up in the nineties and well into the 2000s. I grew up in the culture of social media entrenched with information making it hard to dismiss those of us who were not exactly born in the 2000s. I also so closely identify with the millennial generation since I see many similarities between me and the recent generation, as opposed to similarities between me and previous generations.
As of right now, I’m a little bit removed from college (as it has been three years since I graduated from the University of Maryland), and definitely not where I’m expected it be (I’ve experienced some expectations of where I should be by now ) but needless to say I’m getting to where it feels good and a thriving environment for me. Since I consider myself a proud millennial, I was able to relate to most of the qualities Professor Gates explained.
Professor Gates suggested that millennials aren’t into owning things, ie home purchases, car purchases. etc. As long as we have access to resources and the materials we need, we are not very concerned about having our “names on it”. As I was sitting there in the commencement ceremony, it hit me how true this was. Most of the students/kids I’ve encountered from this generation aren’t really into owning as long as they have the access they need.
As long as we have drivable cars, where it takes us from point A to point B and apartments where we are able to live safely, we’re not really too concerned about owning the house or the car, we’d rather save our money in our bank accounts than put a down payment and own. This also made me realize that this generation values the idea of “freedom” more than anything. Its in essence being free that we value so much, we don’t want to be sign our names away to paying mortgages and making car payments for the rest of our lives.
Another concept that hit home for me was the fact that millennials do seek information A LOT. I’m pretty sure everyone is informed that we live in the information age by now, where we have access to plain, easy and valuable information. We are exposed to so much information to the point where we dismiss it sometimes without even processing. For example, I like to know as much information of the purchases I’m making, no matter how big or small. I also like to know the environments I’m exposing myself, no matter how far or near. Before I buy anything, or drive anywhere, I always research more about the places I’m going to or the purchases I’m making. This saves me the hassle of asking questions when I reach to certain places, or from any confusion I may face if I wasn’t aware beforehand. I think it’s safe to say that we, as millennials do feel comfortable knowing more about something no matter how minuscule or ginormous.
Another quality of most millennials as professor Gates put it was “lucky for mom and dad, millennials tend to most likely return home after college…and stay there” LOL. This is so true, at least with me. I came home after college and I still haven’t left. Don’t get me wrong, I do have plans of moving out sooner than later but I want to use this opportunity without having to pay for rent while I can. The moving out eventually needs to happen though and trust me, it will.
It’s definitely a shift from previous generations where college graduates immediately move out from their parents’ home after graduation. With millennials, this is definitely not the case as we feel more comfortable living at home after receiving our college degrees.
Another fact that was mentioned was the idea that we tend to be VERY optimistic than previous generations. Again, I was LOL’ing in the audience because this is so true. Many of my friends and I, as well as my brother who just graduated, as well as my 12 year old sister, all are very optimistic about our futures and the careers we want to accomplish. I feel people in previous generation may have been a little afraid to take risks and try new things, they may have stuck to what they knew and most importantly to “safety”. As with this generation, we aren’t necessarily afraid to go to the road “less travelled” and find our gems there, and happen to be optimistic while doing so.
I also want to say that while this is an excellent trait to have, its also good to have back up plans incase failure does happen, which in most instances, it will especially since we’re just starting out and beginning our beautiful journeys.
As you can see, this commencement ceremony definitely helped me in making sense of my life a little bit more and validated my journey in ways I didn’t expect at all. After all, its good to be open to experiences and lessons from anywhere in the world as we don’t know where we’ll get struck the hardest and find our way there.
I also want to wish my younger brother, Mickey a very bright journey as he reaches this next milestone in his life (shine bright like a diamond, Mickey LOL) and may you discover all of your elements and be received by the world.
Peace and Love,