Millennial burnout relates to the college student

Gabriella Pinos/ Staff Writer

Millennials are delusional, selfish, lazy – and tired as hell.

The term, which refers to those born in the 1980s and the 1990s, has become a buzz word generalizing the internet-savvy young adults populating the workforce. If your parents use it, it’s probably in a negative way, as millennials have been called a myriad of insults, including entitled and lazy, by older generations.

It’s this stereotype that a viral BuzzFeed article, to the dismay of your elderly relatives, recently tried to break down.

Published on Jan. 5, the article elaborates on “millennial burnout,” a condition in which millennials find it difficult to accomplish mundane tasks due to the stressful environment and unattainable expectations placed on them.

Whether you agree with it or not, the article ignited a discussion online about the struggles of “adulting” and “errand paralysis.” Even as someone who is technically not a millennial, I agreed with many of the points the writer brought up.

My generation, which was born in the late 1990s, is now one or two years deep in college. Since junior year of high school, we were expected to know what we were going to do in our careers. Some of my peers graduated early and earned their associate degree before leaving high school. Rather than enjoy our awkward teen years, some of us slaved away to make sure we got the best education possible.

Many of these students toe the line between millennials and Generation Z, or those born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s. Even more so than the cynical ‘80s and ‘90s kids before us, we are plagued by stress and anxiety. 

Take the October 2018 survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, which found that Generation Zers were more likely to report having poor mental health and seek professional help for mental health issues. 81 percent of young adults between the ages of 18 and 21 also reported that money was a significant source of stress, while 77 percent said the same about work.

That’s not to say that burnout isn’t a real problem for millennials or any other adult figuring out their way through life. In fact, it dominates our lives above anything else.

As the BuzzFeed article explains, burnout isn’t a symptom of the world we live in, it’s the environment itself. Millennials, and future generations too, are restless at work, at home, everywhere, all the time.

Social media reflects the workaholic mentality society has adopted, as mentioned by an article by The Guardian. We’re not expected to just work, but to “grind” and find pleasure in our occupations. The American Dream is easier than ever to attain but harder than even to maintain through the internet, where promoting your personal brand is a necessary ingredient for success. 

Because of the digital age, millennials and Generation Zers are entering a workforce different from that of older generations. Long gone are the days when college students graduate into entry-level jobs; now, job opportunities are much scarcer and position much more competitive. And, if you don’t complete at least two internships before earning your degree or become a self-made millionaire as an influencer at seventeen, you’re done for.

Even with all the effort we put into our studies, there is no guarantee that we will earn a job in our field once we graduate. In 2014, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 74 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field were not employed in STEM occupations. That means most of my classmates who struggle to land an internship in their field will find little success after graduation.

With all that stress put onto us, it’s no surprise that we’ll burn out eventually. Call it capitalism or the universe punishing us for our ancestors’ mistakes, we work hard just to have the rug pulled from under us. And no matter how many tasks we may undertake, older generations will continue to call us lazy, entitled, spoiled brats.

But if there’s one thing the article proved, it’s that millennials are quite the opposite of what our relatives say they are. Today’s young adults may be workaholics, but we’re also determined, competitive, intelligent and not afraid of a challenge. I can say the same about some of the older members of Generation Z, who are eager to take life by the horns. 

It’s an unavoidable, unfair reality at times, but at least all of us, from the millennial in his thirties to the Generation Zer in college, can complain about it together.


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of Panther Press Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

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