Updated: Apr 2, 2019
Nia Hamm | @nia_on_tv
Young adults, and Millennials in particular, are often considered lazy, hopeless, pampered, devoid of social and career skills and generally unskilled in many areas of life. While many young adults certainly fit these descriptions, the fact of the matter is many also face challenges that their parents did not. These challenges have had some unpredictable effects on our culture and created new obstacles for which "how-to" guides have not yet been written because their overall impact is not yet fully understood.
The Great Recession is a good example. The job market has been less than kind to millions of young Americans who graduated just before, during or afterwards. The middle class is eroding. Wages growth is stagnant. And most Americans don't even have $500 of savings in the bank. These issues become even more dire for people living in the margins of society including minorities, women and lower-income citizens. When this is the daily reality of people who already feel like the deck is stacked against them, it's easy to understand why hopelessness and despair seem to pervade our culture.
The tech revolution is another world event that has revolutionized a multitude of areas including, commerce, education, employment as well as how we interact politically and socially. One area this social change is most evident is how we form relationships, whether its through online dating or engaging with people through social media. While the internet has opened up access to communication for and between billions of people worldwide, it has also bred social consequences. Ironically, one of the effects of living in a more 'connected' global society is the social isolation it creates as well as the disconnect between human-to-human interaction. For many people, even when there isn't a computer screen between us, pursuing relationships, dating, marriage and forming families can seem more challenging than ever given the all of the issues mentioned above. This is especially true for women pursuing careers in demanding fields, which often means a choice between career advancement or success and having a romantic relationship or a family. As the reality of American life changes, so do social norms, including when young adults get married, what kind of relationships they form, including traditional and non-traditional reltionships, and whether or not and when they form families. Studies show women and Millennials are delaying these milestones more often than not.
Coupled with the aforementioned and a myriad of other factors, you end up with a significant portion of young adult Americans who feel defeated, lost or without purpose. Many who report following the blueprint to achieving the American dream often come to the conclusion that the notion is simply an illusion. That's why we've created a space for young adults who generally feel ill-prepared for life. Society imposes many expectations on young people who may want what we consider "The American Dream" but no longer have tried and true guidelines for how to achieve it. The internet does an amazing job at reinforcing these expectations and making you feel like a failure when you don't achieve them. When the pressures of life get you down you an feel like you're alone in the fight. That couldn't be further from the truth. Our hope is that hearing the experiences of people who have faced similar obstacles will serve as encouragement and advice for others.