The generations of Pleasant Valley

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Kelsie Foltz, Staff Contributor

Those who were born into Generation Y, more often referred to as Millennials, were born between 1980 and 1994. Therefore, no student who attends Pleasant Valley technically falls into this category. Yet, when asked which generation they felt they belonged to, almost every student selected Millennials. So what exactly distinguishes a Millennial from Generation Z?

Although Millennials grew up in an era of technological advances and social media, it was not the only thing they have ever known like it is for Gen Z. “ I didn’t grow up with technology. I grew up playing in my backyard and with my friends, not facetiming or snapchatting them,” said one student. “I feel like younger generations missed out on having a true childhood.”

The problem with classifying students into these groups seems to be the large scale of people included in each generation. Millennial and Generation Z teens alike feel like they don’t truly belong to any generation. One twitter user said, “Shoutout to the forgotten 1997-2001 babies who are too young to be 90’s kids but too old to relate to Jake Paul generation.” This seems to be the same predicament for those who don’t feel they truly belong to either Gen Y or Gen Z.

Another student claimed that they believed they were a Millennial simply because that was what they had always been referred to as. They said, “I don’t really know what it means to be a Millennial. I just know that’s always what people say teens are because we’re always on our phones and we’re obsessed with technology.” Millennials are known to be avid technology users, yet the first Iphone wasn’t created until 2007, nine years after Gen Y began.

Even Google describes Millennials as technology crazy kids. “ Gen Y is tech-savvy, greatly ambitious, in love with change; they’re multi-taskers and globally connected – mainly due to being immersed in the digital world from a young age,” the company wrote, “Armed with smartphones, laptops, and other gadgets, this generation is plugged in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and immune to most traditional marketing and sales pitches. They’ve been exposed to it all since early childhood, been there, seen that.”

It appears that the reason teens are having trouble finding where they fit in is because they truly don’t fit into either group in either age or experience. The definition of Gen Y accurately describes a majority of students, yet none of them are included in the age bracketing of the group. Generation Z has completely different experiences, having technology their whole lives, yet high schoolers who didn’t have the same technology until their late childhood and early teen years are classified with this group.

It seems that even at Pleasant Valley, confusion about generations can be troubling to some students. One student wrote, “I don’t know which generation I belong to. It kind of bothers me because I feel like I’m always grouped into a generation I don’t belong in, but I don’t have an argument against that claim because I don’t know which group I should claim I belong in.” Another student said, “I have always felt that I belonged to the Millennial generation and I didn’t know until now that I technically don’t belong in that category,” they continued. “I feel like my personality and knowledge fits better in Gen Y than Gen Z and now I just feel confused.” Regardless of the technical classification of generations, students should be able to identify for themselves which category feels most accurate for them.