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.