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The Existence of the Millennial Generation Student

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As the Baby Boomers generation has begun to enter retirement, the next generation of students (Millennial) is entering the workforce with behaviors, ideas, attitudes, and doting parents to be reckoned with. For many years, the word generation has encompassed births that have spanned over several years and allowed for changes occurring over a time period. This new generation of student is called the “Millennial” student and takes over where the Baby Boomers have left off. The article “The Myth of The Millennials” by Edwin Koc (2008) describes the changes that occur between the Baby Boomer generation and the Millennial generation. In this critique, I will discuss whether Edwin Koc’s article is convincing in his analysis of whether or not millennial students do exist; and if not what evidence does is displayed to demonstrate otherwise. Although, there are several articles that have been written about the millennial generation student and their existence, there are still a few skeptics of whether they exist. The skepticism is caused mainly by the lack of any sufficient completed studies and non-existence of authenticated data proving the theory existence.

Even without documented evidence, society has discovered a pattern that surrounds this new generation of students and has labeled them as “the Millennial” student. The pattern most related to the name of this student, comes from the recognition of their parent’s behavior that has been an interval part of this student’s life. Edwin Koc (2008), discusses the millennial student parent as having nurtured their children from birth while preparing them for entrance to universities, colleges, and the workforce. He classifies this generation of student as coming with the new ideas of how to spend their time effectively between work-home life and careers. In his analysis, Edwin Koc, is effective in his description of this generation of students and their relationship with their parents. He discusses how colleges and universities need to change their way of meeting the needs of these students over the past generations. He further explains that this new generation of students will need more guidance and support in order to be successful in this society. Edwin Koc (2008) does try to give credence to this generation of students in his description of the millennial student, but he fails when he illustrates disbelief, whether this student really exists.

Comparing this article written by Edwin Koc (2008 and the article titled, Welcoming a new generation to college: The Millennial Student written by Dr. Carol Elam, Dr. Terry Stratton & Denise D. Gibson (2007), there were some similarities as well as differences noted. The differences are obvious in the way each article addresses the millennial student and their parents. Dr. Carol Elam, Dr. Terry Stratton, & Denise D. Gibson (2007), discusses this generation of students as “the conventionally motivated, respectful, structured rule followers, protected and sheltered, and cooperative and team motivated” (Elam, Stratton, Gibson, 2007). The authors’ main focus is on the behavior of this student, and the challenges posed to universities in how to make accommodation for this student. Whereas, the article written by Edwin Koc (2008) focuses is upon the descriptions of the variety of generations; especially, the difference between the Baby Boomers and Millennial student. His major emphasis is on whether this generation and helicopter parents actually exist. He seems to be conflicted within his beliefs when he is discussing this topic in great detail.

This argument is revealed in his statement “while there is no doubt that helicopter parents do exist, do they really constitute the ubiquitous phenomenon that can be described as a characteristic of this generation of college recruits?” (Koc, 2008 p. 16). This statement is contradictory, because further in the article he states, “helicopter parents may well be a generational phenomenon, but at the moment there is no way to know for sure because there are no measures, only stories” (Koc, 2008 p.17). He also discusses in great detail the millennial generation’s attitude toward work –life balance, and afterward; he describes his reservation regarding the millennial student’s existence. This is shown in the statement, “the work-balance scenario has a high impact on these students and shows in the way they choose jobs, deal with trade-offs between their jobs, money, career activities and objectives associated with their family and friends outside of work” (Koc, 2008 p.18). It seems here, the author is not sure what to believe, because he calls a section of his writing “Is there really a Millennial generation?” (Koc, 2008 p. 18).

It seems the author is confused in regard to what he believes, because he is unable to divulge any documented proof of the existence of the millennial student, and the term is questionable. Despite both article’s differences, they do have similarities, such as the analysis of the so called “helicopter parents,” and their influence on the millennial student transformation of college and work life. Both articles describe the “helicopter parents” as parents who hover over their students giving career direction, reviewing job offers, discussing their children’s career paths with employers and university advisement. The difference in these two articles is Edwin Koc, gives the impression; he feels that helicopter parent’s interference is wrong, but it has occurred long before the millennial student generation emerged. He gives an example such as, Franklin Roosevelt’s mother, Sara Delano, who interfered in Roosevelt’s professional and personal life while pursuing his political aspirations (Koc, 2008 p.16).

Overall, the article written by Edwin Koc (2008) is effective in relaying his findings and conclusions in his discussion of the millennial student and their behaviors in work-life balance. Edwin Koc (2008) has done an excellent job expanding on this student, the approaches needed to recruit this generation of student, and ways to involve their parents. This article audience is aimed at the persons who created the name for this new generation of students, the persons that believed in the “helicopter parent” phenomenon, and possibility researcher on this particular topic. The author is trying to support his argument of the lack of documented evidence supporting the millennial student theory, the effect their parent behavior has on their student life, and does the action of this generation of student qualifies them to be referred to as the “millennial student.” Despite, how strongly the author feels about the lack of evidence to support the existence of this generation of students; he needs to stick to one side and stop flipping back and forth. Maybe he should start his own research and collect data to support one theory, and stop hanging on the fence.

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