An Open Letter to Boomers and Gen X

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Dear Baby Boomers (and Gen X):
This is a message from the Millenials and Gen Z. We are here to demand the respect we deserve. We are here to say that times have changed since you were our age. We are here to shine light on
our brothers and sisters who struggle through a life that is many times harder to succeed in than it was 40 years ago. We are here to insist that our voices be heard and our battles be noticed. We are here to be accepted and respected.

And we are not going away.

This is a message from the kids who are too young to have an opinion on what’s going on in the world anyways. It is so much harder to be successful today. Competition to get into Ivy League schools every year only grows. Tuition costs rise exponentially with minimum wage falling unsatisfactory. Housing prices are only affordable to a fraction of the common population. We have not even mentioned the persistent wage gap between genders and races. Only the already wealthy, already
privileged population is given opportunity to stay wealthy and privileged, leaving the minority locked in its place.

Students sacrifice their health and well-being on a daily basis for grades. The sense of academic pressure to be outstanding and advanced placed is increasing by the quarter. However, the pressure to be the best does not stop at grade point average. The economy and schooling system creates enough pressure in the classroom. On top of that, teenagers are feeling the demands from the beauty community. Not only does the media broadcast false images of beauty, it hides what really should be valued in teenagers, maybe what they forget to value in themselves.

With growing advancements in technology, money, and the internet, young adults are left feeling like they are not enough. Everyone is constantly being made aware that there are people who are richer, taller, more attractive, smarter and more social than them. Commonly, these cases lead to other problems that cause even worse damage. Studies say that average high school students suffer from the same levels of anxiety as a psychiatric patient in the early 1950’s. Whether this is entirely true or not, a combination of pressure put on by the school, society, and our own parents, is a ridiculous load to carry. Mental health issues caused by general stress are extremely common.

As a high school student, I can barely think of a handful of my peers that do not go through similar situations. Every kid with problems at home is expected to go about his/her day just like someone who is not. We are expected to suck up the tears and maybe cry next week if we have a couple minutes to spare in between soccer practice
and writing that one essay. We mean no disrespect but when we feel disrespected, we get disrespectful. We’re here to argue
and protest for a little while because after that we have about four hours of homework to do, not including the project that’s due on Friday. We’re confident and strong but not as confident and strong as the next guy because his brother drives a Mercedes and he’s taller than me.

However, we do know one thing is for sure. We’re sure you did have two jobs and drove yourself to school in the car you bought with your own money when you were our age. We’re sure you did work
hard. We don’t doubt that your teacher was allowed to hit you with a ruler. Rulers and stones might’ve broken some of our bones but writing essays until the crack of dawn won’t. We do know what is going on in the world and we will be able to make it in life. We, too, can see what
needs to be done in the world and our voices will not be talked over at the dinner table.

The next time you think us unfit for real work and real jobs, remember who is going to work at your nursing homes.

With Great Pleasure,
Jillian Marquez

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