Millennials Speak Out

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Millennials are the face of the future. Born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s, their ranks include doctors, teachers, students, CEOs, astronauts, mothers, fathers and future presidents. What are their aspirations, motivations, concerns and outlook? Are they happy? Pittsburgh Quarterly’s Alayna Jones visited Pittsburgh-​area places, ranging from the University of Pittsburgh to the Giant Eagle, to get a glimpse.

What are your plans for the future?

I plan on landing a career in supply chain management and transitioning through both the industry and consulting realms. Also, marry the girl of my dreams and having two kids. I would like to be the most energetic youth-​sports coach out there.” - Justin, 21, student

I want to take time off right now and just be me and hang out for a little before I start the rest of my life.” - Courtney, 18

I want to be able to have a lot of stories to tell and live an adventure.” - Dylan, 24, mechanical engineer

I plan to get my undergrad in pre-​med and go on to medical school to become an orthopedic surgeon. I plan to have a wife that I love and that loves me and have a family. I would also like to play soccer professionally, if possible.” - Dominic, 19, student

What are your career aspirations?

Make as much money as possible while having great benefits and keeping work and home life balanced.” - Lindsey, 28

I want to have a non-​desk job in an area that supports my personal goals.” - Dylan, 24, mechanical engineer

Are you concerned you might not meet your goals? Why or why not?

I am concerned that I won’t meet my goals as I truly believe everyone has a touch of doubt. However, my aspirations and goals affect the life of my child and with motivation like that, I must find a way to succeed and even surpass my goals. I have to build up confidence in myself to know that I can move up in my career field in order to reach these goals.” - Lindsey, 28

Yes, because my big dreams sometimes seem that are they unrealistic and unattainable.” - Mandy, 21, student

No, throughout my entire life when I have set my heart on something I have been perseverant to accomplish that goal. I believe that after a few years with experience if I can evaluate my life and determine that if my home-​life and professional life are stable enough, I will make the decision then to pursue my goals.” - Leighann, 22, student

Are you happy?

Happiness is overrated.” - Alexander, 20, student

I believe that I am happy, but could be happier. I believe some of my problems are within my capability to solve and, once solved, I could be much happier.” - Lindsey, 28

What makes you happy?

There is so much to appreciate in this world. Sports are my favorite thing to keep myself busy and the next would be meeting new people. I love being able to hold conversations with new people and learn from their opinions and thoughts.” - Justin, 21, student

When both my academic life and social environment are going well. However, if one or both were to decline, then my overall happiness would too.” - Leighann, 22, student

Knowing that I have constant support from my family and friends that love me and doing the things I like to do make me happy. Also cute dogs and music make me happy.” - Dominic,19, student

What motivates you?

Being the best version of myself motivates me. I can always improve myself to be better.” - Chelsea, 26

My daughter and our life together is my biggest motivator. Other things like being able to travel or buy nice things, to take care of debt, that also motivates me.” - Lindsey, 28

The idea of looking back on my life when I am older and being proud of the decisions I have made professionally and socially. Professionally, I want to look back and be proud of all my accomplishments. Socially, I want to have a loving family and loving friends. I also hope that when I look back on my life, I know I made a positive impact on those I had a relationship with, both in my professional and social lives.” - Leighann, 22, student

The future. Knowing I have a future ahead of me that I can control pushes me to want to make my future the best it can be by doing things now to set up myself for then.” - Dominic, 19, student

Others motivate me. I think friendly competition is really good for us.” - Jill, 22

Are you optimistic about the world? Why or why not?

Yes, because I have met and know a lot of good people and good people always win over the bad ones in the long run.” - Chelsea, 26

I want to be, but sometime things around us like news, social media etc. make it hard. I try and stay positive about my life and the world I live in. But I can’t say I’m 100 percent optimistic about our current world.” - Lindsey, 28

I’m optimistic this world has a lot of potential. I feel that if people can stop worrying as much about the little things and areas that don’t matter, this will create a better world to live in.” - Justin, 21, student

No, I’m not optimistic because people are killing our planet and as a whole refuse to do anything to help it.” - Alexander, 20, student

It’s hard, some days more than others. It depends on what’s on the news that day but generally I am optimistic everything is going to turn out okay.” - Jill, 22

Do you want to do more meaningful work or lucrative work?

Honestly, lucrative. If I could do something that paid more than my current salary and helped people, I would, of course, want to do something like that. My current line of work isn’t necessarily helping people, however. It is a corporate environment with opportunity for advancement and, therefore, opportunity for a higher paying salary. I don’t plan to deviate from my current path.” - Lindsey, 28

I want to look back and be excited by my contributions.” - Alexander, 20, student

Personally, I need to do meaningful work. I want to feel good about myself when I come home at the end of the day rather than something that makes more money.” - Courtney, 18

The work I do has to have meaning behind it. I have to be happy with what I’m doing every day because that’s what keeps me going.” - Sasha, 23, medical student

There is a time where more lucrative work will stop being a priority for me, but for now, I think money is the biggest incentive.” - Dylan, 24, mechanical engineer

What fears do you have for the future?

My fears are overwhelming about the future. Fears of struggling with debt, of money always being an issue, of not being able to provide enough for the kind of life I wanted for my child. I have a fear of projecting my past relationship problems onto others and being alone. I have fears of not advancing in my current position at work or even loving my income. Focusing on fears can be crippling. I find it best to focus on the positive to drown out those fears.” - Lindsey, 28

While I wouldn’t say that I am fearful of it, I think everyone’s biggest fear is loneliness.” - Dylan, 24, mechanical engineer

I don’t have any. I have faith in my decisions and I believe that what I do will end up working out the way it is supposed to, so I don’t fear the future really.” - Dominic, 19, student

Technology consuming most of the social interaction between people scares me.” - Justin, 21, student

Define success.

Success to me is living life to the fullest and having no regrets. Happy people are successful people. The positivity you put out is what you, in turn, receive.” - Chelsea, 26

Success is being happy with your life and making decisions to improve the world and yourself. Success is getting places without hurting people to get there. Success is honest achievement.” - Rachel, 20, student

Being happy rather than having a lot of money and hating your life. Having an apartment with a dog.” - Courtney, 18

Success is achieving any goal you have set. However, success can be on a large and small scale. For some, success can mean walking a mile in the morning and for others it can be running an entire marathon. I don’t think we should base our own success on others.” - Leighann, 22, student


Alayna Jones

Alayna interned for Pittsburgh Quarterly during the summer of 2018.

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