It’s pretty clear to those of us who were born prior to the early ‘80s that the millennial generation is quite different. These young people might be better in some respects, such as their general environmental consciousness and their technological prowess, but it’s hard not to worry for them when we hear how woefully unrealistic their views of life are.
A new study has shown just how unprepared millennials are for the challenges of leaving their parents’ home and living on their own. A study of young people who are about to start college found that more than half of the 2,000 respondents had no idea how to pay a bill, and many somehow thought that a night out cost more than rent.
In addition, the prospect of starting college is making many of these young people nervous, with 61 percent of the prospective students admitting to feeling anxious about it. Meanwhile, 58 percent said they were having trouble sleeping and 27 percent reported panic attacks.
It’s normal to be a bit anxious about embarking on such a big change in life, but it’s concerning that these students are already so nervous when you consider the fact that their expectations of college life are quite unrealistic. Sixty percent of those polled thought they’d be spending more time in lectures than they would on schoolwork, which means they could be in for a very rude awakening once the reality sets in.
A lot of the students claimed they were good with money, yet more than half can’t pay a bill and many were not aware that their biggest cost after paying tuition would be rent. Many felt their biggest expense would instead be nights out, course materials, or groceries.
If this rainbows-and-butterflies idea of college is giving them panic attacks, what will happen to them when they find out what it’s really like?
Unrealistic expectations setting them up for severe disappointment
These unrealistic expectations are a disaster waiting to happen, as mental health problems like depression could set in once they find out college is not what they expected. Young women are particularly vulnerable to depression. The disappointments of college and the pressure to look and be perfect caused by that favorite millennial pastime, social media, drives many of them straight for antidepressants.
Unfortunately, this only makes the problem worse. Most antidepressants have a pretty poor record when it comes to effectiveness. One thing they do seem to be good at, however, is raising people’s risk of suicide, and the effect is especially pronounced in young people.
This lack of preparedness appears to be a common theme in this generation, with a past Pew Research Center poll finding that nearly half of millennials believe that their student loans will be forgiven one day. Even more surprisingly, 80 percent did not even know what interest rate they were paying on their student loan!
This cluelessness even extends to basic household tasks. British researchers found that a fifth of people under the age of 35 need help from their parents to carry out basic household tasks. Half of them aren’t sure how to put up wallpaper, and one out of every eight say they don’t even know how to change a light bulb. Another study found that one out of every four people aged 25 to 34 didn’t know how to boil an egg.
Their attitudes toward work are similarly confounding. For example, a MolbilIron survey discovered that 60 percent of millennials would quit their job if their boss cracked down on social media use at work.
It’s incredible to think that a generation that is so preoccupied with social connections and one that has access to more information than any previous generation could be so out of touch with reality. Millennials have plenty of skills when it comes to technology and they might be good at taking care of the planet, but basic chores pose a huge challenge for them and their ideas about life are overly optimistic, almost to the point of being dangerous.