The Internet is always up in arms about something. Lately, it has been split over whether a former Northeastern journalism student named Taylor Cotter has the right to be a self-entitled, romantic, but successful member of Generation Y.
Cotter is just 22, yet she already has a well-paying job, has bought herself a car, and rents an apartment, but sadly, is already becoming too jaded by success after two months.
“But what about that 10-cents-a-word life that I always wanted?” Cotter writes in her Huffington Post article “A Struggle of Not Struggling.” “What about New York City? What about freelancing, penning newspaper columns and urban adventures? What about the struggles that I see on Girls and the tales of credit card debt and ramen noodle dinners?”
I don’t know Cotter. What about it?
“I suppose that I’m grateful that I can make all my car payments and start saving for retirement while most of my friends are living at home and working part-time jobs — but I often find myself lamenting the fact that I’m not living at home and not working a part-time job. From my perspective, these are just some of the life-changing, character-building experiences that I may never have.”
We are the generation that has a problem with success, with office jobs, and with the bustle of nine to five. It is uncool to be an office drone so young. What about dreams? Weren’t we taught to follow our dreams?
We lived relatively peaceful lives. Without the constant threat of war. The 1990s were vibrant, prosperous, and fun. We had childhoods. We are the Nickelodeon generation, growing up planted in front of the television watching nothing but shows made just for us. We learned from them, and credit them, such as Cotter’s inspiration for becoming a female journalist, which was from watching Sex and the City and Harriet the Spy.
We are the generation that has been romantically inspired, such as by a freelance, bohemian lifestyle in New York City, the greatest city for writers in the world. We have become fascinated with the classics, the films, what we see, and what we hear. We take on fantasies that are idealistic, but we are taught to think they are attainable.
We are taught that as long as we work hard, we can get whatever we want.
We were conditioned to believe that everybody should go to college. It is a birthright, a privilege to get an education, and it is a matter of pride to get a well-paying job. Our degrees in English, Philosophy, or Fine Arts will be able to help us in the real world, even if statistics say otherwise. We are the idealistically educated.
We were the first kids to have grown up with the Internet. We watched it grow, improve, expand to become a cornerstone of our lives. We built it, loved it, and made it everything we ever wanted. It was so beautiful.
We are the social networking generation. We no longer write down our thoughts in paper journals with locks and keys, but on anonymous blogs where other people can see them, and validate what we experience.
Our Twitter feeds and Facebook statuses are filled with the ramblings and inane blips of thought that pass so briefly, yet we give them so much meaning.
Cotter felt the need to take one of these ramblings and put it on The Huffington Post.
Cotter posted something that upset many people, me included. Her longing for a struggle was insensitive to those that are being directly affected by the recession, and the lagging economy. She wrote an essay which came off as whiny, idealistic, and immature. However, since we are Generation Y, there are many of us who agree with her sentiments. We are in her shoes, and that’s what makes it so poignant. That despite her insensitivity, and immaturity, there is a part of her statements that holds truth—the truth of Generation Y. The generation that has a problem with success.