Caught in the middle of two generations, current high schoolers find themselves in Lost Generation


Photo Miriam Ibrahimi

Photo editor Maria Tand feels stuck between the Gen Z or Millennial generation, wondering if she's more iPad or avocado toast.

Maria Tand, Photo Editor

Having the internet increasingly at our fingertips as we grew up, technology switched from almost nonexistent to essential in a matter of years. Truthfully, being born in 2001 has given me and all the others born in this year a lot of positives. However, there is one thing that has bothered me for a very long time concerning my birth: the constant tug between being a Millennial or being a part of Gen Z

Where’s the tug from? According to the US Census data collection, a Millennial is someone born between the years 1982 and the early 2000s while a Gen Z member is from that point on. However, this is contradictory to the Pew Research Center definition of a Millennial as anyone born between 1981-1996 and Generation Z from 1997 onward. So, as you can see, this is where the confusion begins. There is a murky gray area in between that those born between 1996 and the early 2000s get lost in. Are we Millennials or are we Gen Z?

Researchers label the generations as such for data collection purposes, however, these labels have transformed into a basis for describing those in said groups. Baby boomers are attributed with big dreams, disciplined attitudes and being self-assured. While a label, per se, is not the important part, it is more about how those born in the in-between years are stuck in limbo with a mix of both. Whereas, the Gen Z kids get other characteristics such as being bold and questioning norms due to the freedom that social media platforms give them. We, as the people in between are left behind with no definitive way to describe ourselves.  

Every so often a teacher asks a class that I’m in, “What generation are you guys again? Millennial is it?” to which half respond with yes and the other response with no. This has happened more times than I can count and truthfully from my perspective it is exhausting having this constant battle. People convince others they are Millennials while others convince people they are Gen Z. I attribute this confusion to the mix that has taken place in the years that those of us in the gray area grew up in.  

Those born in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, specifically the juniors and seniors this school year grew up with most of the same things that 90s kids did with a surge in technology during our childhood that makes others believe we are Gen Z. We all know those memes that go into what “only 90s kids” will know.  Kids born 10-15 years after us have a vastly different childhood causing a stronger divide than that of the kids who grew up in the 80s and 90s. Technology improved in the blink of an eye as we went through elementary, middle and high school with most of us still watching movies on tv carts with VHS tapes well into sixth grade.  

While I do believe that all of us are in the same boat as far as which generation we are a part of, there are some aspects that make some of us lean either more toward Millennial or Gen Z. Since both of my older siblings are hardcore Millennials, born right in the thick of the alotted time slot,  I grew up with similar interests as they had, even if I was much younger. The same goes for those with younger siblings who feel they might feel a stronger connection to Gen Z due to their surroundings.

Even if some of us might lean more toward one side to the other, I still believe that we are caught up in a lost generation. Growing up in a time with things of the old such as VHS, cassette tapes and technology at a minimum compared to today we had drastically different experience compared to those of Gen Z as they have had advanced techs such as iPhones, laptops, and tablets at their fingertips since day one. Our lost generation feels the limbo of not being apart of a single group which in turn singles us out to a whole category ourselves: the Lost Generation.