Located in the Imperial Gardens Festival site at Cheltenham, The Sunday Times Garden Theatre occupied the likes of Marisa Bate ("The Pool"), Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett (co-founder, The Vagenda blog) and Michele Hanson (comedy columnist, The Guardian) , on the topic of exactly what lies in store for the lives of millennials.
If you were a baby-boomer born in the 80s or 90s, this talk regarded you as a millennial. The topic: "as a millennial, are you screwed?". Diving straight into the core matters surrounding the subject of generational issues living around the United Kingdom in 2016, the panelists described not only their personal experiences suffering and overcoming inevitable situations in the modern day, but also: What unites the millennials? What are their aspirations, and what is expected of them? And finally, are the millennials' obsession with technology a blessing or a curse? In fact- are the millennials screwed?
The board discuss how social media adds another layer of aggravation to millennials. "You can never be quiet." says Michele (left). Creating high levels of anxiety- although we all are able to admit the numerous positives- technology needs to be redesigned. They describe social media as a flippant thing. This is "quite desperately urgent" and often we are unaware of both the physical consequences and emotional strains that lie with becoming "blitzed " and flooded with information. Let us consider:
"We are not cautious with the knowledge we acquire."
- Bate (below-right)
With technology leading the way, property, food, language and career structures have all shifted paths. Michelle Hanson, a little older than Cosslett and Bate, describes how life was so different for her when she left education and started to find work. Her ideas of career changed; her jobs swapped and she experimented until she found what suited her. Nowadays, however, she calls this a "catastrophic collapse" with "unstable working circumstances" for youth.
At the mere age of sixteen, we choose four core subjects and are expected to focus on only one for university around three years later. Hence, we are - as Cosslett adds - "so in debt"; no longer with the efficient, disposable income that could be used for educational purposes a few decades ago.
Michele states that the majority of her social group are currently helping their children, or grandchildren, financially. Millennials are struggling without secondary help.
Exploring the social mobility of degrees in "patchwork industries", they begin to discuss the European funding of Russell-group universities. Of course, the subject of Brexit begins to take the shape of conversation. The majority of millennials voted remain, yet the approach of the older generation were taken into account. Are millennials really having their say?
"We blame migrants for things we do not like. All of our "problems" are landing at the feet of migrants."
"Building walls [through leaving the European Union] is not the way to overcome this issue. There must be a better way; whether you are young or old or whatever ethnicity you are, we will have to stick together- or we are done for."
At this point, the crowd erupts into an indescribable noise. Cheers and claps accompanying a standing ovation summarises the panel's view : there is a lack of engagement with political issues within the younger generations. Technology is paving the way, and we aren't always conscious of the drastic changes taking place right in front of us. And this must change.
By Isis Sky