In a society where millennials are often seen as a self-absorbed generation in need of instant gratification, it is refreshing to see someone speak on our behalf.
In the Sweigart auditorium on Oct. 19, senior editor of Black Enterprise magazine and financial adviser Stacey Tisdale spoke against the notion that millennials lack motivation and responsibility.
In one of her direct interactions with the audience, Tisdale asked students to share their thoughts on student loan debt. The answers, for the most part, all led to the same conclusion: The financial impact of education and other life expenses are the foundation of the fears we have about the future.
We are limited in planning life after college based on the debt we accumulate while we are here. Post-graduation, many of our peers are forced to decide between passion and financial stability, at times foregoing happiness in exchange for a decent paycheck.
The pressure to find and choose a job that will provide me with enough funds to live comfortably, especially as a senior, is mounting. I refuse to let money dictate my happiness, but in today’s economy, that is easier said than done. I know that facing the post-graduation “fork in the road” is inevitable, but it shouldn’t have to be that way.
Tisdale touched on the idea of deciding between financial stability and productivity in her talk. She provided three questions that we can apply to our financial and personal goals: If you had unlimited money, how would you spend your time? If you had 5 to 10 years left to live, what would you do? If you had 1 day left to live, what would you regret?
While those with a stereotypical perception of millennials would expect our answers to feature something about frivolous spending and regretting the amount of Twitter followers we never had, many students discussed dreams of traveling the world and helping those in poor countries. Tisdale noted that millennials are focused on interacting with society in a productive manner and are “less motivated by capitalist gain than older generations.”
Our determination to be successful often comes across to our elders as a desire to be on top without working for it. The possibility of making a difference in the world around us fuels our efforts to be as free from financial stress as possible, and maybe that idea alone makes our generation rich.
Senior arts administration major
Printed in the 10/28/15 issue.