Opinion Piece: The Millennial Issue

As I sat with a few friends the other day, playing video games and having a few drinks I couldn’t help but look around at the scene in my living room. Four 21ish year old males sat with laptops, Xbox, television, Bluetooth speakers, a phone each and the rest. Every single one of us was completely flooded with technology and we were playing video games with each other on two different platforms (laptop and Xbox) whilst being in the same room.

Now, I bet you’re thinking I’m going to come out with ‘we should have been outside in the warm weather rather than sat in a room surrounded by technology’ but actually that’s not true at all, and that is not ‘The Millenial Issue’ I think exists. As a matter of fact, the scenario described above took place after we had spent numerous hours in the evening in the fresh air at the driving range challenging each other to hit golf balls into baskets and having a jolly good time.

 

So, if not being outside enjoying the sun is not the issue with today’s 21 year olds, then what is? Well, the above scenario, I think, highlights something that has been sorely missed for our generation. We have been very fortunate to have lived and grown up in a time when technology has rapidly advanced. Take for example mobile phones. At the time of my 4th birthday, Nokia hadn’t even released their infamous 3310 model and yet just 17 years later I sit with my phone in my hand and the world at my fingertips. Now considering the first text message was sent in 1993, the rapid expansion of the last 25 or so years in this technology has been incredible. However, despite knowing how to use my phone as a navigation system, a games console, a bank, etcetera, there is one real issue. I don’t have a clue how any of it works, I just know how to work it.

 

This lack of understanding technologically for our generation, the generation who are just beginning to join the real world, is somewhat intriguing when we explore that we have known the next big thing is going to be linked to technological advances for the majority of our lives. Indeed, we are all very aware of Mark Zuckerberg – arguably the most successful man in the world – and how he succeeded in life and Bill Gates and James Dyson before him gave us clues. So if it was so apparent then why did we not focus on developing our skills with coding, or computer programming?

 

Indeed, during the evening I decided to raise this point relating to video games by remarking on how envious I was by the people who could create something as intuitive as a fully working computer game to which my friends agreed, and actually started the conversation that led to this article. We remarked that the rapid expansion of technology in our time has meant that education reform has not, until now, had the opportunity to catch up. If you explore the new National Curriculum, yes even the one for Primary School children, now includes Computer Science and Coding. This seems a far cry from my computer education which focused predominantly on the development of skills in Microsoft Powerpoint, and if I’m honest, prepared me quite terribly for creating anything other than a copied and pasted slide show full of timed animations and slide transitions.

 

Indeed, when we explore Bloom’s Taxonomy, it is clear that this ability to create an intuitive video game, rather than just knowing how to work it exemplifies the end of two knowledge spectrums. Remembering, understanding and applying, or knowing how to work things seemingly highlight that my generation have seemingly been undersold educationally. Therefore, the positive shift to improve education in England where our children begin to not only apply their knowledge but use it to create new products and conduct trial and error (evaluations) on these products, is wholeheartedly welcome for our youths.

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However, what are we left to do? The millennial is seemingly, like those before us, stuck in a technological limbo where the majority have somewhat reached their peak with technology and will never create the next world changing invention because we are not equipped with the skills to do so. I suppose the only real consolation is that at least we have benefitted from having technology and have developed as people because of it. Still wouldn’t say no to a fraction of Zuckerberg’s wage though!

Opinion Piece – Horoscopes: The Ultimate Pseudoscience

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I often enjoy the chance to flick through a magazine (or Instagram, as it is currently 2018) and marvel at what the stars and planets have written for me that day. If you sat any logical person down and explained to them what reading your horoscope actually means, they would probably laugh – yet I can guarantee most people reading this have once been so shocked to find out I ACTUALLY DO HAVE TRUST ISSUES, GLAMOUR IS SO RIGHT AND IT’S BECAUSE I WAS BORN IN APRIL.

I decided to run a little social experiment, and after being genuinely worried that I was entering dangerous territory in terms of identity fraud with the amount of personal information that I needed to give them, I found out my horoscope. Astrology.com were very kind to me today, telling me that “Your energy brings your warmth to the table in a big way, so communication is sure to be light hearted, wacky and free-spirited.” What a flirt. You might also be interested to know that I’ve given Joe substantial reasons to be worried about his relationship, as all you Cancers should be aware that “It’s tough to walk that fine balance between love and work, love and your social life, love and — well, you get the picture. If an emotional gale is threatening to tip your own personal SS Romance on its side, try and defuse those forces before it builds into the perfect storm. After all, it’s ever so much nicer — and much smoother sailing — when you and your partner are in sync about what is and isn’t important in your lives.” Sorry. Better watch out that your SS Romance keeps afloat.

I don’t mean to come across as mocking, because in all honestly, and I’m sure many of you can agree with me, that I have definitely read and been affected by my horoscope. If someone tells me that great opportunities and fortune lie ahead of me then I will, of course, be thrilled. Not going to lie, I have even checked my friends and boyfriend’s horoscope before to assure them that despite whatever inner turmoil they may be going through currently, the stars say “Now is the best time to put your big, personal plans in motion — or address shake-ups and reorgs you want to see happen in the workplace.” I even convinced my friend to talk to someone on a night out on the off chance they could have been “Your true love, who is just around the corner, waiting patiently but nervously.” Yeah, I am a sucker for a horoscope, even though deep down I’m sure they are truly, truly rubbish.

Pseudoscience is a fancy term for something that is basically a lie dressed up like a fact. It’s a fake science. Its fake news in its finest. Horoscopes are a prime example of this – the logic that astrologists give us is that your day, in terms of your job, wealth, relationships, hell even what you need to eat for lunch, is determined by the exact position of the stars and planets on the day you were born and how they ‘apparently’ are today. This is clearly, ridiculous. Their argument is that the celestial objects in the sky, and their energy, are influencing whether you should “Show your loved ones a bit more affection today”.

Overall, I hope to have debunked horoscopes for you, yet hopefully not ruin them entirely. As it is still quite nice and reassuring to hear the nice things they have to say about you, or even reasons why today might not have been the best day, because of something that is way out of your control. So, keep reading them if you like them, and don’t if you don’t. The stars will stay the same either way.

After all, I could just be saying all this because I’m a Virgo.