I had heard something like these theories (as a high schooler, you hear pretty much every day that your brain is not fully developed, and that's why you can't be trusted to do all manner of things, and there's been talk lately about how many recent college grads live at home as well), but I wasn't sure how I felt reading them laid out in ten pages of sympathetic discussion that nevertheless felt a bit... off.
Granted, I don't turn twenty for another month, so maybe I don't count. But I read an article responding to the Times and Slate articles that really struck a chord with me, so I thought I'd pass it along. Rebekah Monson has a theory about what's up with my generation, and it has much less to do with our brains and much more to do with the current economy and corporate culture. Prepare for a long block quote, I couldn't find a short one that summed up what I related to in it.
We accept that we are numbers on a spreadsheet in the current corporate landscape, but we don’t have to like it. We check off your boxes, and we accomplish the goals you lay out. We play nice. But, if there is no benefit to going the extra mile, then why bother?
That said, we are largely financially conservative. Our debt is daunting. We try to save more, we try to live more sustainably. We do not trust Social Security or that our 401Ks will see us through retirement. ...
We have a lot to be excited about, but less and less of that exists within the current corporate structure. We communicate constantly. We love to collaborate. We are data junkies. Many of us are imbued with entrepreneurial spirit. We strike out. We tinker. We play. None of this is particularly valued in the current corporate environment. But, we value it in ourselves and in each other. We have interesting side projects. (And, we keep them from you so that you won’t fire us.)
I sent this to my friend, and she found it incredibly depressing, but I found it kind of exciting. I mean, it ends with "we are decidedly chasing our own ideals, even when things seem hopeless," which does seem a bit bleak, but also kind of exciting. As the Times article points out, we are a painfully optimistic generation despite having a thousand different reasons not to be. So while I think Rebekah's rather dreary analysis is pretty spot-on, I also have a feeling that this whole twenty-something thing could be fun.