Thoughts from a Geriatric Millennial

After listening to George Veletsianos’s responses to our cohort’s questions about research, I thought about the human tendency to organize and categorize, and I pondered the generational divides. I remember the first time I heard the term ‘elder millennial’ and although I did not like the terminology, I accepted it. I decided to do some digging, and when my google search returned an article which referred to the microgeneration of millennials born between 1980 and 1985, of which I am a member, as ‘geriatric millennials’ (Dhawan, 2021), I was outraged. Pardon me? Geriatric in my late thirties? I think not, thank you very much. That being said, I can confidently check some of the stereotypes off the list (Dorozio, 2021). Side part in my hair, yes thanks. Skinny jeans, of course! Avocado toast, ew (unpopular opinion: avocado toast is repulsive).

In all seriousness, though, I would argue that my generational assignment has had a significant impact on how I view learning and technology. I am the generation that knows a world with and without technology. I remember being in junior high and the excitement of getting the internet at home. I remember paying ten cents per text message and waiting until after 9pm to chat with my friends so our calls were free. I remember fighting with my siblings over who got to use our family desktop computer. However, I also know the freedom of accessible technology, the convenience of carrying a handheld computer in my pocket, the power of information at my fingertips. I have two kids, 11 and 3, and they are living a much different childhood than I did. In my lifetime, I have been witness to the impressive advance of technological progress and the resulting societal change. This all leads me to think back to our LRNT 521 discussions of the digital visitors, digital residents continuum (White & LeCornu, 2011) and where each generation may sit on the continuum, but alas, that is another conversation for another time. 

The swift and enormous societal changes I have been a part of, my experiences thus far in the MALAT program, and my reflections on George Veletsianos’s responses to our cohort’s questions gave rise to a few thoughts. Here is my ‘geriatric millennial’ take:

  • Be a good person and act with sincerity and authenticity, regardless of where you are. Online? Be awesome! In-person? Be awesome! Hybrid? Be awesome!
  • Think about the problems, the big problems humanity is struggling with, that can be solved with a little bit of effort, research, creativity, and critical thinking. Fix the world, and if technology can help, awesome! If not, that’s okay too!
  • The future is going to happen, that is a given, so make an effort to solve today’s problems. Take care of each other and study something that has the potential to make the world a better place.
  • Take some time to think about what you are actually interested in, and dive in. Technology may or may not play a role when you head down this road, but in all likelihood, do not be surprised if it is present in some way, shape, or form.
  • Don’t be so anxious! Literature reviews sound terrifying, but as Dr. Veletsianos suggested, reframe your thinking and look at a literature review as a way for your reader (and you!) to understand where your research topic and questions sit within your field of study.

It will be interesting to see what the future brings, and when and where I will find my place in the world of research and learning and technology. If the past few months have been an indicator, my guess is that I will continue to engage enthusiastically and make the most out of what has already been an incredibly rewarding experience. Geriatric or not, I am excited about the foundation I am building and I am beyond excited for what comes next. 

References

Dhawan, E. (2021, April 21). Why the hybrid workforce of the future depends on the ‘geriatric millennial’. Medium. https://index.medium.com/why-the-hybrid-workforce-of-the-future-depends-on-the-geriatric-millennial-6f9ff4de1d23 

Dorozio, J. (2021, March 9). Elder millennial: This is the year they turn 40. CBC News. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/checking-up-on-elder-millennials-1.5939196

White, D. S., & LeCornu, A. (2011). Visitors and residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9).

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