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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Generation Z has snowball’s chance in hell

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Tj Favela/The Collegian
Tj Favela/The Collegian
Tj Favela/The Collegian

The latest generations have faced so many world-changing events that the mental consequences are glaringly obvious.

From the turn of the century, it seemed like everything started to speedrun. There was a new earth-shattering incident every few years, and the further we went into the 2000s, the less downtime was given to recover. This kind of constant intake of shocking news can wear down anyone, especially when growing up in those circumstances.

Generation Z, the population of people born from 1997 to 2012, have had a uniquely unfortunate experience because their brains were developing during this time period. The formative years so necessary for a child’s development and mental stability were filled with news of war, financial crisis and now sickness.

The first major event that happened in the Gen Zers time was 9/11, a day that will live in infamy across America. But for many of this generation, 9/11 wasn’t about the event but the effects. For those too young to remember the day or born after it, all they know are the videos shown in elementary to middle school classrooms across the country every year of people jumping out of buildings and the towers going down in smoke. What did adults think being shown videos like that at such a young age will do to their psyche?

It didn’t stop there. For the next decade, there was constant talk of war and fear of another attack happening. Then, there was a financial collapse. The 2008 housing crisis struck financial fear into parents and their children alike, but children didn’t know how to cope with that fear. All they knew was suddenly their family was stressed about something they couldn’t help with.

That feeling of helplessness is perhaps the only thing that every Gen Zer can relate to.

What can make someone feel more helpless than a global pandemic that forced them inside, away from human interaction? COVID hit everyone hard, but it took years from the younger generation. The pandemic started right as many Gen Zers were entering the adult world and trying to find themselves, but then they were shut back in with their families having to make do on their own. How can that be seen as fair?

Some younger members of this generation had to go through school in the pandemic. And for many, it was incredibly difficult. They suddenly couldn’t see the people they previously interacted with every day. They had to learn through a screen rather than in-person. Some even had to graduate through a Zoom meeting, dressed in their cap and gown in an empty room instead of an auditorium, unable to walk across the stage and get the diploma that they just went through hell to earn.

The years that were supposed to be the best of their lives now are just under a haze of trying to survive and make it through with their sanity intact. Even with everything opened up now and schools open again for the youngest members to go back and return to normalcy, these constant beatdowns of sensational events have left their marks.

The feeling of constant anxiety has become the norm and they have become numb. They know there’s always something in the news, which they can access through their phones. 

That’s one of the worst things about being in Gen Z — the technological advantages that have become a major contributor to the constant barrage of bad news. So many horrible things have happened, and we’ve had a front row seat to the carnage through a screen. 

It wasn’t even just COVID during these past few years – riots, publicized deaths, political unrest, inflation jumps and a full-freight boat that interrupted trade lines after getting stuck in the Suez Canal. Each of these is just another turn of the cog, winding up the anxiety and turmoil of a whole generation who will now have to live through the decades figuring out how to deal with this new normal.

Gen Z has been set up with a world to try and turn into something they can live in, but it seems like an impossible task. Instead of a push into the race with words of good luck, it’s a climb from the bottom of a pit that we didn’t dig. We have been buried under gas station price signs, COVID tests, masks and every single piece of technology that was supposed to pave the way for the better, but now just shows us every way it can get worse.

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