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Juniors Defend Millennials, Imitate MLK’s Style

AP Language and Composition Students, Guest Writers

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Recently junior AP Language and Composition classes, taught by teacher Rachel Wilkinson, studied Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” In order prepare for the AP test, as well as appreciate the style of Dr. King’s writing, students imitated this famous piece of rhetoric as they composed their own defense of millennials.

 

Many people will say that looking down apon millennials gives them no chance to show their ability, and perhaps this is true in some cases. But when you see your friend can’t read an analog clock; when you see a portion of your classmates don’t know how to use a measuring tape; when you see more than one person your age that can’t identify North America on a map, let alone merely name all seven continents without even having to point out their location; when you see an influx of kids unable to take a call; when you see the kids around you can’t put their phone away for more than five minutes, and all you hear is the habitual “smack” of a plastic case against a desk, and no more than five minutes after will you be disturbed out of your thoughts by the harsh flash of light as a text message is delivered, the cold spotlight of electricity revealing the owner as they check it, and the annoying “click-tap-tap-tap” as they respond with one jabbing finger before placing it down with that same resounding “smack” that sets the cycle of obsession, infatuation –limerence to repeat itself once more; when kids go undisciplined, screaming, hopping about on desks and chairs, and your grades must suffer for it because focusing is impossible; when kids say they care for the environment and proceed to trash it with Dorito bags, lunch trays, and empty milk bottles, and you can only watch from the window of a bus as the tarnished landscape passes you by like another day; when your classmates outwardly perceive themselves as “open” and “tolerant”, yet when presented with a different opinion from their own, can only drop jaws and a hurricane of insults; when your classmates claim to be unique and original, and you can clearly see they’re wearing nothing but the most popular and expensive designer clothing -clearly belonging to a clique of other people just like them as they consciously ignore you when you say “hi”; when your classmates carelessly toss aside the works of the great minds before them to call them “outdated” and willingly place themselves in a position of ignorance and easy manipulation because they believe they know it all at 16; when you realize you are being cornered into these cycles and you want to desperately remove yourself from it and renounce your generation for all that it currently stands for –then you will understand why it is important to teach millennials the self-reliance and critical thinking abilities that most of us clearly lack.

-Madeline Stanger 

 

 

I am a Millennial Tech Addict

I am a millennial. And I, along with the other 83 million millennials in the United States, have been labeled as a materialistic tech addict. And while this may be true, it ignores the reality of who we fully are by putting the fault completely on us. But when you have seen your friend break down crying because she just has to get straight A’s and nothing else is acceptable; when you have seen coaches scream and cuss at exhausted student athletes because they’re not performing well enough; when you have seen young girls in middle school get whistled at by men old enough to be their fathers; when you have seen a friend’s eyes well up with tears as she explains to the unforgiving teacher that she couldn’t do her homework last night because dad was working late and someone had to take care of the babies; when you have seen that sweet boy you know get called horrible slurs by people just because of who he loves; when you have seen a little girl come back from the nurse in tears because the new tank top she bought from Justice has spaghetti straps, and so now she has to wear a sweaty old t-shirt on top so that she won’t distract the boys with her second-grader shoulders; when you have seen on the television the man who is supposed to be your leader saying he is going to split up families and deport people miles away to a nation they might not even remember; when you have seen news report after news report about innocent people getting shot; when you have seen the angry red scars on your best friend’s wrist because it was all just too much for her– maybe then you will understand why we look at our screens. Because online we can escape. Online we see the good in the world that we don’t experience. Online we feel as if we have a voice. Online we feel loved. So maybe we are tech addicts. But, the world around us that was made by the generation calling us “lazy” and “slackers” isn’t helping us out of this addiction. It is only pushing us deeper into it.

-Ashleigh Jankowski

 

 

Why Feminism?

Feminism is often mistaken for an identity issue within women. Not only do we know who we are, but we know what we’re after. Equal rights, equal pay, and equal opportunity – all things we find ourselves out in the streets screaming about, because we are not free until all of us are free. People who lack understanding of the feminist movement often ask, “Why?” Maybe they assume the 19th Amendment covered it all. But not until you have been catcalled walking home from school; not until your entire gender has been reduced to a sexual object; not until you are personally affected by the wage gap; not until men have received better opportunities than you; not until you have heard of friends being assaulted or raped; not until you have been called “slut”, “whore”, or “prude”; not until your parents tell you how afraid they are to let you go out on a Saturday night because they fear sexist, misogynistic men; not until you are more likely expected to be a waitress than a CEO; not until the President of the United States has shrugged off respect toward your body; not until your femininity has been confused as weakness; not until dress codes have hidden and shamed your physical existence; not until you find yourself scared to go anywhere alone; not until you are presumed to be emotional and feminine and girly; not until your appearance or the way you dress is considered an appropriate measure of how professional you are; not until you are asked whether you are on your period because of your mood; not until you find yourself forced in the boundaries of what society deems ladylike, attractive, and presentable–will you understand just why we must protest, speak out, and alter our current norm. However equal people of every gender, sexual orientation, race, and religion may seem on paper, acknowledging every injustice is the first step in changing our reality for the better.

-Caroline Ingle

 

 

Millennials: E3

Millennials are a weighted generation.  We are weighted by the lead in our stomachs that we received from centuries of humanity neglecting to think beyond their lifetimes.  The most educated in history, but the least employed in decades.  The most advanced, and still the most indifferent.  Why?  When you’ve seen your companions reach for a dream, only to scratch the edge and fall into debt; when you march in the streets, cold, and demanding change, but receive silence; when you seize every opportunity to vote, but witness- powerless- as progress unravels before your eyes; when you begin to wonder if you will live to see the day planet will stop breathing, or- even less likely- that you won’t; when the news is wagering your odds against nuclear obliteration on the daily; when the American Dream becomes to afford a home- then you will understand the way our stomachs drop. There comes a time when you realize why none of your peers turn to the heavens to pray for better days: because we begin to wonder what god allowed it get this bad.  Millennials inherited the world with the end in sight, or we’ve been told as much our whole lives.  The world does not rest.  She does not stop to accommodate us when we fail her.  It is not that we don’t have hope; it is only that we fear we will be the ones to let her down for the last time.

-Grace Dillingham

 

Millennials Not Zombies

Millennials are so much more than tech-obsessed zombies, hunched over in dark rooms, hypnotized by glaring screens.  Older generations didn’t have the powerful technology my generation does. Faced with something they don’t understand, fear is the immediate response.  When you are scared, it’s easy to ask, in a voice dripping with undisguised scorn and judgement, “Why can’t you just put the phone down?”  But when you finally fall asleep at night, after hours of intense studying, and are met with brutal, scarring nightmares, a symptom of severe stress; when you face the cruelty of high school, with all its cutthroat cliques and teachers waiting eagerly for you to fail; when you watch friends fall apart as they are forced to pick sides in their parents’ ugly divorce; when you can never meet the ridiculous and unhealthy standard of beauty that society tricks you into believing; when you’re forced to take the most grueling course load possible to have just a chance at getting into the college you want; when constant global war and destruction is normal; when you are pressured to go to wild parties and drown yourself in disgusting amounts of alcohol or choke on the fumes of who knows what drugs, just to be popular; when you hear couples at school brag about sex, without realizing they may be sacrificing their future; when enjoying school makes you a nerd, even though you are so much more than just your book smarts; when you have to make sacrifices because all your time must go to school, sports, and volunteering, and god forbid you get a B or have a bad game; when you are harassed by guys who think they are entitled to ask for nude pictures; when you make yourself sick because, amidst the chaos, you forget to eat and sleep- then you might understand why mindless scrolling on our phones, for just a few minutes, is a much-needed relief.  If the older generations took the time to look, they would not struggle to find a hard-working, determined, and probably quite stressed millennial responsibly using technology as a deserved break for their brain.  The world has set ridiculously high standards for us, yet it can’t help but criticize our coping mechanism.  Yes, millennials might struggle to get off social media at the dinner table, but, given the stress we face from the minute we wake up to the late hour we finally allow ourselves to fall asleep, branding us as nothing more than “zombies” is not only insulting, it’s false.

-Erin Kreis

 

 

The “Lazy” Generation

My generation, Millennials, has been labeled the “lazy” generation, due to the rapid growth and development of technology. Perhaps it is easy to say that we have become too reliant on technology, that we expect a small rectangle to fix all the world’s problems, and that we prefer to sit back and relax on our phones while everything falls apart around us. But when you feel the constant pressure of stress weighing down on your body every second of every day; when you can no longer sleep at night, worrying yourself over your grades; when you fill your weekends with homework and studying, instead of doing what you want; when your every waking thought is consumed by the stress of school accompanied with disasters on both national and international scales; when you see the president disgrace your country; when you see him treat his position of power as nothing more than a child’s plaything; when you see the five-year-olds at your job handle disagreements better than members of congress; when the leader of your country hates people because of who they are, and you can’t do anything to stop it; when you no longer feel safe in your school; when you try and stand up for what you believe are told to “Sit back down! You’re too young to understand how the world works”; when your friends afraid to wear their tallit in public, and nothing you say can convince them to not be ashamed of their religion; when you see your friends break down due to stress; when you spend your nights doing homework instead of having dinner with your family; when there isn’t enough time in the day; when instead of being able enjoy life while you have it, you have to think about how it could be ruined by one careless act, one mistake; when everyone is waiting for you to fail and to break under the pressure- then you will understand why we turn to our phones for a sense of relief and relaxation when the world is falling apart around us. We use our phones because the stupid meaningless games are the only things that seem to have no effect on our lives. Maybe I am too young to fully comprehend life, but there’s always room for me to grow, and I would rather spend that time battling the adults who think they have a say in my life, my future, and my being.
-Riley Sherwin

 

 

Millennials

My generation, the millennials or Generation Y, are known for being narcissistic, coddled, tech-addicted, and materialistic, but we aren’t all like this. Those who came before, having titled us “The Me Me Me Generation,” look down upon us for our flamboyance, competitiveness, and people pleasing; we wonder why Generation X is so critical of us, the millennials? Perhaps it is easy to denounce those who have been born into a prosperous and influential generation. But when you have seen your teammates cry after being told they did awful in their lacrosse game; when you bring a little girl and boy into your family after they were abandoned by those who were supposed to love them; when you’re constantly told “you can do better” without knowing how; when you observe classmates anxious to go home and show their parents the one C on their otherwise straight A report card; when you can’t bear to look your parents in the eyes when you disappoint them; when your practice just never makes perfect; when you are constantly compared to the girl sitting next to you in looks, personality, and intelligence by your peers; when you look at yourself in the mirror and see imperfection–then you will understand why it is so hard to please you. Yes, my generation could be less self-concerned, but we have lived our entire lives trying to please those who came before. We have tried satisfying our parents, grandparents, family friends, and many others, but we can no longer sit back and conform to the tradition that you wish to uphold. It is time for a change. It is time for technology. It is time for Generation Y to take the future into their hands and illuminate it.

-Abbi Boehl

 

The Youth

The past five years have been filled with protests and movements to fight injustices in America. Because the youth of this nation acknowledge that this country has many faults that should be fixed, we are looked at as ungrateful to be living in a free country. But when your country cares more about an outdated amendment than the safety of innocent children; when a women’s right to choose is decided by Congress; when you’re country’s so called leader continuously targets and degrades vulnerable minority groups; when the people in this country refuse to admit that this nation was built on immigrants; when loving your body is deemed unacceptable; when you have to tell your little sister she can’t walk by herself in the mall because hearing gunfire and having to find her before the gunman does scares you more than anything; when celebrities find it okay to cherry-pick from different cultures for the sake of fashion; when someone’s sacred land means nothing to the government; when “coming inside when the street lights go on” doesn’t apply to you and your friends because everyone knows that you can still be kidnapped in broad daylight; when history is constantly twisted and distorted to benefit certain groups instead of just telling the raw truth- you start to realize that this country isn’t as free as you were taught to think it is. It’s not that we are ungrateful, it is that we refuse to wear blinders that hide the hatred which has been rooted in America since the beginning.

-Joy Sang

 

 

Millennial Laze

We’ve all seen the tweets, the articles, the rants from our own parents and teachers alike. “Millennials are lazy!” “This generation relies too much on technology to know how to function otherwise!” “Millennials are killing (this and that industry)!” “Get a job!” These and other, much less eloquently worded, tokens of “wisdom” are hurled at my generation on a daily basis. We’re told to be productive with our lives without being told how and are then criticized when we don’t do it “the right way”. However, when we look at reality; when you see influential and innovative companies like SpaceX with millennial staff; when you see millennials who are being touted as the next Einstein in their efforts to fix real world issues; when you see the push for equality for the oppressed; when you see millennials pushing for change wherever and whenever they can; when you see even the “trolls” of the internet fighting violence abroad through sleuthing that would rival Sherlock; when you see a comprehensive political movement organized by naught but the millennial kids from Parkland, Florida; when you see millennials raising so much money for diseases like ALS that a research breakthrough comes about as a result; when you see millennials online solve a problem with protein folding in 10 days, a problem that had been previously worked on for some years by professionals– then you will understand that not only are Millennials almost too productive, but that they are likely the most productive generation in American History. Not all hard work is done in a factory.

-Liam Bohn

 

 

Being known as technology addicts and partiers and slackers, takes a toll on a generation of “Millennials” who have done little to deserve those titles. Since we were born with technology, we are addicts; since we were told to “YOLO”, we are junkies; since we were told not to conform, we are bums. You say deadbeats, but we are motivated to do more than what you have done; you say party animal, but we are not the ones known for our obsession for a drug induced high; you say tech fiend, but you put it in our hands. Look at the politicians mouthing off, the world we were born into, the number of men being accused of sexual assault, the social injustice before we were alive. We have made the world a place that is accepting and tolerant and understanding of everyone not just some people, a place where protesting social injustices is encouraged, a place where no matter your skin or religion or sexuality you are accepted, a place where when kids are scared they don’t back down but instead stand up. When the President of our country is sexist, we host a women’s march; when a school was under deadly assault, days later survivors speak out demanding gun control. I don’t see slackers, I see determination. I don’t see partiers, I see people living life. I don’t see addicts, I see a thirst for knowledge. We aren’t perfect, but we have learned to accept the imperfections instead of criticizing them. Ask yourself what you have done to make a difference, then and only then, can you look at us and ask us the same question.

-Elizabeth Simpson

 

Generations: We the Millennials

We Millennials have been considered rude and untraditional. However, the world is an ever changing place; amongst histories’ continuities, there have also been changes. Perhaps it’s because the older generations have always been afraid of change, or that they can only be so opened minded once. My generation, we the Millennials, are ready to fight for what we believe in. We are in a generation fighting to make the world a better place, fighting to fix histories injustices. It’s really easy to just say “Back in my day that wasn’t allowed” or “It’s just not normal!” But when you’ve seen the ones you love and care about being judged for who or what they love; when you have seen the colorful rainbow flag flash before your eyes and are filled with joy at others’ freedom to choose; when your mamaw has used stereotypes to support her deluded fears; when your grandparents are so appalled by the LGBT community they believe their fight should be illegal; when you watch the news only to be outraged by what you are shown; when your heart aches at all the fear and hatred that misguides your dear cousin into ignorance; when you feel and see the world falling apart at the seams; when violence seems to be the okay response to resistance- then you will understand why we fight so hard to break what older generations have deemed “normal”. Maybe you’ll understand why we care so much, why we have strived to change society so much. Yes, we break the rules. Yes, we break tradition, and yes, we care a lot. This is only because our planet is begging for better change.

-Jamie Pan

 

The Truth about Being a Millennial: Not All Sunshine and Rainbows

The millennial generation grew up in conditions radically different from even their closest predecessors; consequently, earlier generations delight in criticizing millennials. Perhaps you can name dozens of “materialistic partiers, slackers, and tech addicts” born between 1982 and 2004. But when you have had your heart repeatedly shattered by a limitless torrent of tragedies from around the globe, and you are forced to accept how terrible humans can be, because there’s no other way you can keep going; when you have seen roadsides coated with litter every day of your life; when you have seen millennial parents neglecting their children, drowning Generation Alpha in the glow of electronics, because the parents are overworked and burdened with debt; when you have seen millennials flocking to buy the newest gadget that they’ve been told they want, making Jeff Bezos (Boomer) and Larry Page (Gen. X) rich; when well-meaning adults have tried to help you by curing your alleged tech addiction while ignoring the train wreck of an environment they’re leaving for you; when your parents have dismissed any interest you have in gaming because they assume “you’ll end up living in the basement”; when you know humanity must colonize space to survive, while NASA’s budget is cut and space travel is reduced to a toy for the rich; when you want to change the world but realize that it’s impossible alone; when the only politics you know is two parties locked in mindless arguments over the same disagreements while people are suffering; when you have realized that these might be the best years of your life, because the rest of your life holds nothing but darkness—global warming, war over dwindling resources, air and water so toxic life could well become impossible—and you know it’s coming, but you can’t do anything about it, thanks to the ignorance of the future taught to you by those who could ignore it, who have already lived good full lives that you’ve barely begun; when you wonder if there’s anyone out there who can possibly understand your despair, and you feel more alone than anyone has ever felt—then you will understand the consummate hopelessness that comes with being a millennial. Other generations criticize us for any kind of positive change, while they sweep under the rug their culpability in the towering problems we are forced to solve. It seems like some grand conspiracy at times: everyone who came before us signed a suicide pact to fatally poison the world, leaving their children to deal with it while they laugh from their graves. But the scary thing is, it’s not. Somehow, across all that divides humans, they found a common purpose in sabotaging the future. We, the next generation, must do the opposite; we must unite to heal the world, because we are the ones with everything to lose.

-Adam Fu

 

 

The Student News Site of Catonsville High School.
Juniors Defend Millennials, Imitate MLK’s Style