The Next Normal: Who Am I?
The latest issue of Sticky, Viacom’s international youth-generated online culture,
trends and insight magazine, focuses on the lives of the Millennial generation, written by young correspondents from all over the world.
This edition provides a timely backdrop to the recently released global studyThe Next Normal: An Unprecedented Look at Millennials Worldwide. Eight features in Sticky – written by Millennials around the world – home in on the multi-cultural identities and attitudes of young people, in part promulgated by internet connectivity.
Beyond my real friends – the world has become more open , more visible and more accessible. Through the Internet I as a Millennial am linked to everyone else, across the world… making me part of a global community. While I have ‘real friends’ physically and online, there are so many others who I’m connected to – there is sympathy and solidarity. We share the same excitement over election results, the same fear of natural disasters.. and we share what moves us. We are different but have many of the same experiences.
Fluidity of identity – The question of ‘who I am’ prompts for a journey of self discovery. As a young African growing up in multicultural Britain, I saw the benefits as two-fold: an environment for cultural exchange with people from different backgrounds and the opportunity to stay in touch with my heritage by mingling with the Nigerian community. Growing up with such diversity has been strongly ingrained into my identity and played a huge role in shaping my relationships with others. A new lens exists for Millennials on cultural perspective and it has shifted the idea of ‘the other’ to curiosity, tolerance and acceptance.
Born in the USA – growing up as a last wave Millennial – a white male living in the USA, I now realize diversity was just a matter of fact and it was evidenced by the heroes I looked up to and the media I consumed. Michael Jordan – his skin colour never even occurred to me and characters like Carlton Banks in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air defied racial stereotype and proved that blackness and whiteness could be meaningless. The country itself might not be post-racial, but for Millennials, the old divisions of race and ethnicity never represented the world in which we live.
Growing up in SE Asia – Family happens before friends and thus the family life you are born into affects the type of friends you keep in the future. SE Asia has a relatively larger emphasis placed on family obligations and filial piety, and this can translate into pressure to perform to societal standards, e.g. in terms of school/university grades. Although there is a lot of pressure on people in SE Asia, having the right relationships (mainly friends) to build you up will make sure the pressure doesn’t wear you down.
Inspiration in a recession – In this difficult economic period dominated by unemployment and uncertainty, young Italians are facing a difficult situation. Many of my friends are leaving to work abroad and the interesting thing is that there’s no fear of living in another country because we are very open-minded. People like Steve Jobs are an inspiration in showing the importance of creativity and personal intuition. The recession has not impacted our philosophy… ‘always push yourself and never be satisfied’.