I believe this is due to the circumstances we’ve dealt with our entire lives, having been born between the late 1990s and the early 2000s.
The evidence is now irrefutable (except by the most ignorant) that our climate is in serious trouble. I think many of us have become less motivated by the idea of schooling and training because we feel as though there won’t be much time left to put these skills and degrees to use. It’s hard to see that years of school and a lifetime of burdensome student debt are worth it because of the mounting evidence showing how little time we will truly have if things don’t change.
I think my generation is somewhat innovative in trying to make the best of the time we have here. At 16, Greta Thunberg has gained world recognition as a passionate advocate calling for stronger action on global warming. It would be difficult to overestimate the impact of her inspiring call to action.
We are also the first American generation to experience war for our entire lives. Due to this endless fighting, along with politicians ginning up racial conflict, we have grown up in a world full of hate, terrorism and trauma.
Everyone is a product of their environment, and our environment is a constant barrage of aggression. One of the end results may be that members of Gen Z are more assertive and stubbornly independent.
Four years into the Trump era, politics have not been more divided since the Civil War. Trump has provided an outlet for many individuals to openly put forward their hatred. We have witnessed a plethora of issues concerning race, gender, immigration and the role of government. This has made our generation very opinionated and closed-minded. A lot of us think that our way is right without considering the opposing argument.
Those in Generation Z have experienced an enormous amount of pressure our whole lives. We’ve been left to deal with the burden of wealth inequality, damaged ecosystems and a lack of financial security – problems caused by the generations before us.
At the young age of 16, I fear that I won’t live past 50. I don’t know if I will bring children into this world because I don’t want them to live with what is to come if things don’t change.
Ninety-one percent of Gen Z adults said they have experienced at least one physical or emotional symptoms because of stress, such as feeling depressed or sad (58 percent) or lacking interest, motivation or energy (55 percent). Only half of all Gen Zs feel like they do enough to manage their stress.
We cut our teeth on cell phones and have an intuitive understanding of technology. We understand that the whole world is interconnected in ways most do not realize. Having watched our parents ride out unstable financial seas, with their retirements gutted and their jobs terminated, has shaped us to seek out stability on our terms.
We are not afraid of hard work, and we expect to be appreciated for it. But we refuse to be stuck in cubicles and prefer mobile tech. Seeing our parents come home late from work night after night has driven us to demand a work-life balance.
We are perfectly designed for what is coming.
Olivia is a senior at Clayton Valley Charter High School. Email questions and comments to email@example.com.