It’s always fun to read a book that was written by another teenager like yourself, and to see how much your generation is capable of.
Vivek Pandit, author of “We Are Generation Z: How Identity, Attitudes, and Perspectives are Shaping Our Future,” thought so too, especially since he loved learning about how his own mind worked and interacted with today’s society. This was when this high school senior realized who would be better to write a book about modern teenagers, than a teenager?
Both Pandit and his readers have benefited from the content of “We Are Generation Z” (Brown Books, $16.95), and as he explains in the acknowledgements, “This has been a journey of self-discovery, both on an individual and also on a generational level.” I was very excited to have the opportunity to read about what other kids thought of our generation, and I’ll admit, Pandit had us in the bag.
First, Pandit explains our generational identity, which is the mark we leave on the world, both physically and socially. We have our own opinions, and with the digital era in at full swing, we have a lot more outlets for voicing them than our ancestors. As a teen, you have access to so much more information and opportunities for involvement than you realize. As Pandit says, there are so many efforts for global relief being organized on the web, that we could help Third World countries in amazing ways from our own communities. With that, we’re also leaving behind a history that isn’t just taking place on the Internet. I’m sure you’ve noticed, teenagers have started to take action for what they believe in, which Pandit uses to lead into the next section.
Generation Z has some very strong attitudes and opinions, which helps us to really find what’s important and beneficial to us, our nation, and our planet. We have seen different problems, like education and finances, face our parents and other family members, and now we’re prepared to face those problems ourselves. As Pandit explains, we have developed financial awareness and competitive spirits, because we know that having a stance on politics and other issues will help us live more successfully.
I see this example especially as a member of my school’s debate team, where making yourself heard and fighting for your opinion is always the goal. You would be surprised to see what happens at tournaments, as we are set against each other in different debates. We have found a way to turn the tides on a larger scale, by comparing opinions in a friendly but effective way, using evidence to back our arguments.
Finally, Pandit’s 160-page book shows us how important it is that we find other perspectives and learn from them, even if they contradict our own. In a time where overcoming discrimination issues of race, gender, etc. is an aspect of our everyday lives, we need to find out where the other side is coming from before jumping to conclusions. Having an opinion is crucial, but it’s just as important to make sure your opinion is justified.
Social issues are not a new invention, but because of the media, others can quickly form our own opinion for us. For example, you may see two different sources announcing the same developments, but in different ways: one is positive, and one is negative. How your opinion begins forming depends on which you see first, which can prove to be tricky. If you are really interested in a topic and want to pick a side, then do your research! Don’t rely on what you heard first, because there are other points of view out there.
For those of you interested in the psychology of our teen behavior, “We Are Generation Z” — which was publishede in October — is definitely for you. There are lots of different kids out there, with different goals and interests. I’ve given my interpretation of Pandit’s observations, but I know you’ll have your own!
We have a natural drive to discover, influence and explore the world around us, but we can’t do that until we find ourselves first. How can we understand ourselves and each other, when there are so many different ways to go about it? If this is your question, I have one for you: What better way to understand modern teenagers, than by reading the work of a teenager?
London Cummings is a sophomore at Fremont High School. She thinks Marvel movies are awesome and wants to travel the world, although she spends most of her time on Tumblr. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.