What Gen Y Has Taught Me

2010/10/22

I have always been a pessimist.  It is my form of protection.  So seven years ago, when I returned to Miami University in Oxford, OH, I was a bit nervous.  I didn’t think I had much in common with some 20-something, since I had already been in the real world.

The first year and a half at Miami was the worst.  The only time I left my apartment was to go to class.  I didn’t socialize with anyone.  If I was awake, I was either studying or in class.  The defining moment came when a classmate asked me what I had done to “screw up my life” to be in college at my age.  I was livid.  How dare this person question me!

My anger lasted nearly seven years.  Whenever I would have an exchange with a Gen Y-er, I immediately dismissed the person and didn’t even consider his or her point of view.  I thought they were all spoiled brats, like the person who asked me the question.  There was a point when I didn’t even want to talk to Gen Y.

What changed?  Following a fellow Miamian on Twitter.  Tyler Durbin’s website – GenYJourney.com – is a website for the Gen Y generation to discuss life & career advice with each other.  Mr. Durbin occasionally tweets links with job search advice.  I must say that was skeptical at first, but some of the articles do have some very valid points.

The more I read, the more I began to think that maybe all Gen Y-ers aren’t as clueless & spoiled as I had originally thought.  If a recent college graduate can write such insightful work that applies to other generations, then maybe they do have a clue.  (The piece on making the most of career fairs is particularly intuitive.)

Gen Y also taught me to relax and have fun.  After my classmate made that comment, I went out for a few drinks.  As I sat at the table by myself, I watched other students interacting with each other.  They appeared to be having so much fun.  ‘Why can’t I have fun like that?’ I thought.  Then it occurred to me that I needed to let my guard down & relax a bit.  I did so and spent four hours talking to someone I met that evening.

Other generations should follow my lead.  Give Gen Y a chance.  They just might surprise you.

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Belshazzar’s Feast: Escape to Optimism

2010/10/19

Everyone needs an escape, whether it be sports, music, or family.  It is what keeps us sane.  My escape has always been music.  Music allows people to live out their fantasies, to momentarily become a part of a story.  While it is true that the last decade has not been one to write home about, there is reason to be optimistic.  All someone has to do is look at Sir William Walton’s famous oratorio, Belshazzar’s Feast, for answers.

Belshazzar’s Feast is a story about the fall of the greedy & immoral King Belshazzar.  During a grand feast, the king finds the words ‘MENE, MENE, TEKEL UPHARSIN’ written.  Belshazzar can not interpret the writing and promises that whoever correctly interprets it will become the third ruler of the kingdom of Babylon.  Daniel was brought before the king and proceeds to do exactly that.

  • MENE – God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it;
  • TEKEL – Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting; 
  • PERES – Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.)

Daniel is immediately made the kingdom’s ruler, and Belshazzar is slain.

King Belshazzar is similar to today’s athletes & celebrities.  Celebrities want larger contracts with more money, and they want more fans.  King Belshazzar and today’s celebrities represent what is wrong with society – greed, ego-centricism, and the unwillingness to accept responsibility.

Daniel represents optimism.  Even though King Belshazzar was immoral, Daniel remained steadfast.  He was hopeful that an honest, God-fearing person would become ruler.  I believe it was Daniel’s optimism that made him king. 

Instead of believing everything the media puts out, which is  mostly negative, we need to believe that things will work out.   If there isn’t optimism, then there is no hope.  If there is no hope, then there is no point to living.


Do Blogs Matter?

2010/10/05

Do blogs matter?  In a word: yes.

Look at other social media sites, such as Facebook & MySpace.  I realize these sites are not true blogs, but their concept is similar to blogs: tell the world what’s on your mind.  For example, Tyler Clementi committed suicide as a result of his college roommate uploading Clementi’s sexual encounter and later tweeting about it.  Phoebe Prince also committed suicide in January 2010 because of intense cyberbullying.

The Cyberbullying Research Center recently published a study that reveals some frightening facts.  Thirty percent of middle school students surveyed stated that had been a victim of some form of cyberbullying within the last 30 days.  Twenty two percent of middle school students reported that they participated in some form of cyberbullying within the same time frame.  The Clementi & Prince cases should leave little doubt that blogs do matter.

If teenage angst is not your thing, look at the case of Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell.  He created a blog entitled the Chris Armstrong Watch.  The blog is supposedly a site for people who oppose the election of Armstrong (who is openly gay) as student body president of the University of Michigan.  Yet the content of the site is nothing but prejudicial & racist rhetoric.  Shirvell’s career with the AG’s office is now in question.

On a more personal note, I lost one of my closest friends because of a blog.  I ranted that he and his family didn’t have a concept of money, but yet they chastised me for being unemployed and having difficulty paying my bills.  While I didn’t threaten anyone, I guess I did say some hurtful things.  This was a case of me not thinking before I did something, and now I am paying the price.

My friend and I no longer speak to each other.  Since I don’t have many friends in this area, I miss having someone to talk to and spend time with.  I miss having someone to share a beer with.  If blogs don’t matter, then I would still have my best friend.