I was reading today about the Millennial Generation--the group of students currently sitting in the desks facing me. I’m finding myself further and further displaced from them—it’s uncomfortable to realize that I no longer think like they do. Or, rather, they no longer think like me. (Perhaps it is wishful thinking that they ever did.)
I remember rebelling against the label “Gen-X” and its less friendly version “slacker”, so it wasn’t a surprise that some of the students at the Senate meeting today were uncomfortable with the label that had been placed upon them. Perhaps it’s part of the strong American cultural streak of independence to refuse to accept stereotypes when applied to oneself. Some didn’t think they had such ready access to money. Others felt they were not always on top of the newest gadget. Curiously enough, most did identify with the more positive generalizations they feel they are generally optimistic about the future, and most did admit that their access to and knowledge about communication technology is far more advanced than that of Generation X. It threw my aptitude into stark relief, as I haven’t ever sent a text message.
The good that came of all these musings was about an hour-long training session into the art of Google Calendar…and several applications that link up to it. I was amazed by all the bells and whistles I can use just to make myself more organized (always welcome in my chaotic lack of order). My tutor was even a fellow GenX-er from Student Affairs who caught on a lot sooner than I had. Turns out all of administration is up on it; it’s just the faculty that are still trying to schedule meetings by shuttling phone calls back and forth (“Are you free at 3?” “No, I could do 2.” “Well, Sarah can’t make it at 2…”). Our idea of making the process more technologically savvy was to hold the conversation by email.Now that I’m carrying around a netbook wherever I go, and the entire campus is practically wireless, I’m taking hopefully another tentative step toward understanding the existence the students already take for granted. Next semester, I'm going for lessons in optimism for the future.