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I do not like the term “Millennial”.  This is, in part, because I don’t like how “Millennial” sounds, as a word. It’s not just “Millennial” either. I’m never been very fond of “millennium.” Too many “l”s and “m”s, but mostly too many “l”s. “Millennial” is even worse, because it has even more “l”s. The word is nearly swallowed by all the “l”s.  At the turn of the most recent century (it still seems weird that there has been a more recent turn of the century than 1900), I was disappointed that we didn’t have a better word for a thousand-year period than “millennium”. It was such a momentous occasion, this passage into another thousand years, and yet we were stuck with using a word that was so unsatisfying.

As a term describing a generation, “Millennial” is also deeply unsatisfying. I’m not sure that “Gen Y” is much better, but at least it doesn’t have an excessive quantity of “l”s. “Millennial” is frustrating to me, because it seems like every time the generational group is talked about, it’s in a negative way. Even when people talk about Millennials as being particularly savvy, that is often accompanied by a remark about how they are lacking in some other way. Quite frequently, these negative traits of Millennials are linked in some way to the perceived ease with technology or preference for technology above all else.

This assumption that Millennials are all about new technology, and social networking and whatnot bothers me a lot, because it is not true. There are plenty of people who fall into the Millennial category who aren’t plugged into every form of web-based communication known to man. Just because someone is under the age of 30 does not mean that he or she is an expert with computers, or the internet, or social media. It does not mean that he or she has some innate knowledge that other people don’t have, solely because of his or her age.

I don’t see “Millennial” as a neutral term. For me, it always carries a negative connotation that has nothing to do with my dislike of having so many “l”s in one word.  It’s frustrating and upsetting to feel that the word that is used to describe one’s generation is negative one. I’m sure that not everyone who falls under the “Millennial” generation feels this way. We’re a diverse bunch, after all. But I also know I’m not the only one.

~Agatha Viola

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