Opinion: Generations


Photo of junior Mary Gibson and her mother, Tracy Gibson. “In past generations people weren’t as open-minded about certain topics, but now our society has grown to accept different things,” Mary Gibson said. Photo provided by Mary Gibson.

When people hear generational differences they mostly think of what people look like and what their ages are.  But, there are far more differences that go past someone’s facade associated with the generation they belong to.  

A generation’s values and beliefs are influenced by events and trends that occur during that time.  In past generations, they valued work before play, and believed that in order to succeed they had to put their career first.  Our generation, Generation Z, is centered around the internet, and we use it daily. It has made finding information effortless, but it also has created more challenges.  Since everyone is connected and it’s easier to do things, it has created more competition between people.

Parents want their children to succeed, but it isn’t as easy for us to achieve the same goals they did.  Things are way different now, and some parents don’t understand that it’s harder to get to the same level of accomplishment.  Students wanting to further their education are now facing a challenge. With more people applying to college, acceptance rates are declining.  It puts the pressure on students to excel in school and be involved in extracurriculars. Now, students have to work even harder to get accepted into college.  At the time when our parents were applying to college, it was more likely that they would be accepted because there weren’t as many students applying as there is now.  

In the generations before us, work ethic was one of the most important things to people, and everyone was expected to choose work over other things.  No one ever really acknowledged mental health as being a priority. Even today, when people speak out about mental health they get scrutinized. Our generation values hard work, but doesn’t think putting work first at the cost of something else, like mental health, is the way to achieve itWithin the past few years people have been more open with discussing mental health, and believe that it needs to come first.  Many students have turned to social media and the internet as a way to release stress and anxiety.

Internet has changed the way people live and work.  Our generation has grown up with the internet at our fingertips, so we never had to work hard to find information we needed.  But, as we grew up, the internet has evolved from an information source to a source of entertainment. The majority of Generation Z spends time watching YouTube videos and making TikToks.  It has become a way of life for us, and some have a desire to chase the clout and become a social media influencer. Social media has opened new doors for our generation. We are more connected than ever before, and the diversity of Generation Z is something older generations have never seen before. Since older generations, such as our parents, have set values, some find it hard to accept new ideas and values of our age. What we, Generation Z, now face is the pressure and judgment of the older generations.

Even with the scrutiny of earlier generations, we continue to generate discussions about difficult topics that the generations before us would never want to initiate.  Since we can’t end the judgment on us, all we can do is keep the movements alive and create a new community in which we would like to live in.