Reported by Perrin Grauer
The idea that millennials are commitment-phobic is all too familiar to some Langara College students.
Editorials regularly grumble about millennial indecisiveness, citing data that shows the generation is waiting longer to get married, to move out and eschewing home and car ownership more often than previous generations. But some millennials, characterized as those born between the late 1980s and up to the early 2000s, say this stereotype overlooks the influence of a changing socioeconomic fabric.
Langara Peace and Conflict Studies student Eric Morrison, 23, said he hears about his generation’s lack of commitment constantly.
“From my parents, from my bosses… any authority figure I have some sort of communication relationship with,” Morrison said, adding he feels the characterization is unfair. “I feel like our definition of commitment is different from their definition of commitment. The context is different now.”
The pressure of big decisions
Eric M. Meyers, assistant professor in the faculty of arts at UBC, studies the information practices of young people. Meyers said that as the world grows more complex, people naturally take longer to make big decisions.
“We want to keep all of our options on the table as long as possible. And in times of uncertainty, that effect seems to be magnified,” Meyers said. “I think that there’s a certain amount of freedom that social mobility, technology, and changing social norms provides that allows us to have different expectations.”
Langara Engineering student Louis Causing, 20, said he bridles at the expectations of his parents’ generation.
“I feel like it’s not fair, to be honest. Because it makes you feel pressure. Pressure to make you do things you’re uncomfortable with,” Causing said. “You’re still exploring, but then they force you to take this [path], and you’re like no, I don’t want it.”
Theo Metzmeier, 23, who studies Engineering at Langara, said a surplus of choices can be a mixed blessing, but that judgments on how his generation makes its choices need to be put to rest.
“Times are changing so drastically right now,” Metzmeier said. “I don’t think it’s fair to put expectations on upcoming generations that applied to yours.”