The Resiliency of Generation Y

April 24th, 2007

Resiliency. It appears to be one of the only words that can truly define the young men and women of the Y Generation.

The recent VT massacre illustrates just another incident that Gen Y continues to be a testament of. Upon the April 16 shootings, my first reaction was one of frustration and disbelief. It seems now that there has been a steady trickle of violence and catastrophe that continues to plague those of this generation.

Those of us born between 1977 and 1990, are said to be the demographic of young people whose lives have spanned over some of the largest atrocities in history. Many of us can vividly recall the Oklahoma City bombings, Columbine and of course, the 9/11 attacks.

Whether this is a good thing or not, I couldn’t tell you. However, I think it’s safe to say that for the majority of the Y Gen (said to be around 70 million people in the U.S.), we have endured much and continue to grow as young, strong, and assertive Americans. What our grandparents experienced with WWII, or our own parents with Vietnam is indeed admirable as well. But for us, history has never written such unceasing trauma.

It appears that our nation continues to grow as a target for negative and horrific occurrences. And it is from this trauma that we as the Y Generation are able to stand unraveled emotionally and mentally on the forefront of the action—even when we are directly affected.

What happened on the Virginia Tech campus two weeks ago merely echoes this emotional endurance and strength. What ensued after the news hit was a series of responsible and rational actions by our student body and faculty. Prayer and reflection services were organized, counseling was offered and students tried to learn everything they could about the event. A tremendous outpour of yearning to understand was evident throughout the student body—people picked up any reading material they could, surfed the web and asked questions.

Televisions were turned to CNN and Fox News and reassuring phone calls were made to loved ones. And, even though our campus thankfully has never had to bare witness to such an event as the massacre at VT, we still responded with empathy, placing ourselves in the shoes of other college students and realizing that what happened to them could easily happen to us.

Evil follows no path or trend. It happens anywhere, at anytime. Our generation understands this aspect of life and rather than run from it, we face situations head on, acting with assertiveness and poise. We are confident in our endeavors and are not afraid to question those above us. This past weekend, the students and members of the VT community exemplified strength and courage by going ahead with their own Relay for Life. Rather than dwell in hardship, these young adults strove to address another painstaking issue in the U.S. and do their little part to help the fight.

As part of the Y Generation, students on the John Carroll University campus exemplify these traits further.

I’m proud to say that I belong to a community of young adults that prides itself on taking charge and being the change they wish to see in the world.