Generation Z

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, but it isn’t due to not knowing what to write. I’ve written many posts…in my head. I’m going to start with writing about Generation Z. I’ve seen a lot of articles pop up on my Facebook page about my generation. We are either the doomed generation or we are the generation that’s going to fix everything. There is little middle ground and there is little talking with people actually in this generation. It’s gotten kind of tiring listening, and reading, about older people trying to “figure us out” and after my first year in high school I feel ready to provide my own observations.

First: Technology-

Yes, we do love technology and social media. There are very few people who are exceptions to this. And as much as I love how easy it is to quickly settle disputes by pulling out google or staying in touch with so many people (my BFF and I text pretty much everyday), I find myself getting frustrated with it. And no, not the slow service that I so often get in Poolesville, but what it does during lunch. I remember when last year we never used our phones, we would spend the full lunch period laughing and telling stories. Now? Now, I have to make comments about the anti-socialness for people to put their phones away. And even then, within the 45 minutes, they slowly start creeping out. I want to make new friends and feel secure in a really close group, but it gets really frustrating when everyone is not only looking at a screen, but has their ear buds in. And having an open technology policy in school-meaning phones and iPods are allowed during class, is so stupid. I’m sorry, but it’s so easy to fake paying attention, like pretending to take notes on your phone.

Second: Social Media-

Ok, enough bashing technology, because I do honestly love it. In terms of social media, I think it’s great. There are so many flavors that it fits every person’s preference. You really don’t need all of them if you don’t want all of them. And if someone you follow is annoying you with what they post, just unfollow them. It is really that easy. I’ve found that by having some accounts I can keep up with more of my friends, maybe I don’t want to carry on daily conversations with everyone, but I’m curious on how they are doing, social media is great with that. I know people who have whole friend groups online who have never met in person. It seems weird at first, but it’s not bad, just totally different. You can now have friends across the country, kind of life pen pals. Do I think that you loose something? Not necessarily, especially if they aren’t your only friends. I know that for a lot of people, having the barrier of a screen is less intimidating and allows them to be more true to themselves, especially for those who have social anxiety. Or for some people with some sort of physical condition/disease, they don’t have to reveal that part of their identity and therefore aren’t judged or stereotyped. Maybe they can’t get together, but they can still talk and support each other. Yes, there are some people online who are creeps and take advantage of this type of friend group, but it’s not as common as adults seem to believe. And the whole deal with selfies, hashtags, swag, and Yolo, yes they can get annoying, especially when there is no moderation, but every generation’s parents have looked down on their fads as silly or stupid. And guess what, today there seems more people who use hashtags and the slang words in a sarcastic manner than those who don’t.

Third: Work Ethic-

How to begin… there is so much here. As a generation there is pretty bad work ethic and some sense of entitlement, but it isn’t totally our fault either. I see it all the time at school, even in the magnet program. It’s probably the most frustrating thing for me, especially as we all chose to be in the program and it’s such an coveted spot, and we don’t always seem to appreciate it. There are complaints about the amount of work. Personally, I don’t think it’s that bad. I realize that I’ve always been able to manage my time and have had several years to adjust to the type of work, but they don’t even bother doing 10-15 math problems. And they figure out when they need to finish something based on the deadline, not the due date (which comes first). I realize that sometimes you need to use it if things get too busy, but that’s their starting point, not a fall back. In one of my classes in particular, I feel as if it is a lot of the teacher’s fault. During most of the year he has accepted any work at pretty much any time, and he never really grades it, most just get an automatic 100. But sometimes he takes an assignment seriously and gets upset when no one has turned anything in the day it is due. Is it really our fault in that case? He’s conditioned us that due dates don’t really matter to him, so why should it matter to us? But, this is just one example, in many classes, such as English-where the teacher cares-there are times when less than 50% of assignments are turned in on time. But this has been in the program, where many people are adjusting to the type of work, it can’t be that bad. Except that it’s worse in other classes.

In another class, the teacher is pretty weak, but most people take advantage of her. People think of ways to slow class down or purposely don’t tell her when we are repeating an activity. Yeah, it’s an easy grade that way, but incredibly boring and long. But they don’t actually care about learning, it’s about the easy grades. Like when we probably put in more time in and out of class to get an easy grade for a presentation than take the unit test. And when we are given individual time to work in groups and there was no attempt at working. I know the teacher is boring, the class drags, but you can’t completely blame the teacher for not putting any energy in when there is none in return.

Fourth: Entitlement-

I feel as if a part of our poor work ethic has come from a sense of entitlement. Except for a few years at the start of elementary school, everyone at the science fair got a ribbon, just for participating. And I do realize why that case made sense, it was the same popular kids winning every time, and there was still competition, just mainly with yourself-meaning there was a rubric you had to do well on. However, this whole ribbon for participation is everywhere. In my middle school, as well as many others, the principal didn’t like grouping the kids be ability. She thought that everyone at the lower levels would feel bad that they weren’t as smart. She didn’t want to hurt their feelings. And teachers aren’t allowed to give lower than 50% if a student even only written their name on an assignment. I understand having a 50% minimum grade rule for someone who honestly tried, but students have taken advantage of a higher grade and only written their name, taking advantage of a grade for which they did no work. But it doesn’t stop there, I know of students who will go to a teacher and ask for a bump in their grade. Not, a “Hey, I don’t think I deserved this grade. Can we talk?” It’s more of, “I’m just a few percents off of an A and this is my only class where I don’t have one. Can you bump my grade?” I’m not entirely sure how many teachers actually comply to these requests, but I do know there is a good handful, and some you don’t even need to talk to. They will just do it for you. And the range of bumps is anywhere from .1% (which I think is fine in a lot of scenarios) to 2-3% (which isn’t acceptable in most cases). This really isn’t helping the whole work ethic issue.

So, yes I’m tired of some (certainly not all) adults looking down on us for our fads, seeing us as nothing else but silly teenagers and for a portion of the teenagers who do give us the bad representation. And my generation has its ups and downs, but instead of pointing fingers trying to blame parents or the kids, lets just admit that it’s a cycle of poor expectations from adults and no strong initiative. But, hey, we are a very passionate generation, get us in a topic of interest and we will take that initiative and work hard. And put us in a class where the teacher pushes us and expects a lot, most of us will rise to the occasion.

What do you think?