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GenY Psyche

I recently read a blog post written by Molly Sprayregen titled The Brain On 23 and found myself ‘squirming’ at how accurately she dictated this specific psyche. After a few moments’ thought however, I realized that I no longer believed Ms. Sprayregen’s description of insecurities and desperation, of lost hearts and minds wobbling like fresh foals through this precarious phase of life, to be a truthful portrayal of my age group and our generation. Sure, yes, at times we feel lost, overwhelmed, underachieving, and insignificant and yes, at some point we may have watched an episode or 12 of a sapless sitcom while our wants and worries became more fragrant as they sat searing on the back burner. But between these seemingly stagnant periods of uselessness I believe our generation, the Y generation, has nurtured some of the most generous, thoughtful and simply competent people in our present communities.


If you’ve been living under a rock you might not know much about a little thing called Ebola. Cole’s notes version, the Ebola virus disease (EVD) was originally discovered in 1976 however a recent outbreak commencing in West Africa has been spreading internationally. EVD’s severe symptoms, average fatality rate of 50% and cases of unanticipated transmission are eminent causes of concern for our health care workers. Primarily, heath care workers are faced with issues in treating the disease as well as containing its spread in practically and financially efficient ways. These predicaments have been reviewed and contemplated by medical professionals for the past 9 months however arguably the most effective solutions have been delivered by various groups of non-expert youths. An open forum was established to crowdsource solutions and students from Columbia University responded. How could GenY students devise answers to issues professionals weren’t able to resolve? Fresh, unfiltered eyes- sort of like when you loose your keys and, for the life of you, cannot find them until you ask for assistance from another who finds them somewhere obvious like exactly where you left them. In instances like this where experts are unable to generate solutions, youths are more free intellectually and able to “see the bigger picture”. While professionals are inclined to scrutinize smaller details, the inexperienced younger generation is proficient in formulating competent solutions using basic understandings. There is a term I’ve heard a few times that goes, “Simple things done savagely well”. Youths in general are still mastering the trade; they haven’t yet been engrossed by the tricks. By mastering the basics and only beginning to form personal assessments and adjustments, pre-expert youths are well equipped to see uncomplicated solutions for seemingly complex issues. “Simple things done savagely well.”


I know not all GenY’s are out to solve the world’s problems, but I believe everyone is capable of and is trying to support most of his or her friends, families and neighbours. Only a handful of people are landing a probe on a comet like in the recent Rosetta Mission, or designing the vaccine that will eliminate Ebola, or writing the next ‘Call Me Maybe’ for Carly Rae Jepsen, but everyone has friends and family who do the little things that change a person’s day, month, year or even life. The little things like shoveling past your property line because you know your neighbour can’t do it themselves, attending a friend’s fundraiser and donating a portion of your week’s grocery budget to support their career, or holding the door open, not flipping off the car that just cut in front of you, giving your seat up for someone who needs it, singing carols at the hospital, hand writing thank you notes… the list goes on! It is because of this phase of life that we are in, one of ambiguity, that the Y Generation is so inclined to support and motivate one another, to establish groups like the SAIT H.E.R.O. (Helping Everyone Reach Out) club and become contributors in our communities. We may not have the job opportunities, financial stability, experience or connections that our parents have, but we do have the intent and the creativity to figure it out and make it happen. This vagueness is not the foundation of insecurity or acceptance of inadequacy like Molly Sprayregen’s blog post implies but rather a source that motivates young people to seek confidence in competence and reassure our peers of their efforts in doing the same.


I may watch too many consecutive hours of television at times, and I might make irrational and emotionally spurred decisions. I will definitely say and do the wrong things at the most inconvenient of times. I have and will fret, panic, cry, freak out and doubt over and over again, but in these times of uncertainty I know one thing to be steadfast. With the help of my peers and my friends and family, I will always pick myself back up. No one is able to go through it all alone, and in no way is it a flaw or a reason for concern to need others. There are times when I, along with every other 23 year old, will lose sight of my purpose or my intent, but that relationship is so intimate that once the dust is brushed off and the wounds start to heal I know where to find it again. I agree with Ms. Sprayregen in that young people lean on each other for many things, however I believe this support system is what enables youths to contribute to and benefit from their communities.

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