It seems that every generation has “beef” with the next one. Boomers think millennials had it easier than them, and those, in turn, do not understand what Gen Z could possibly have to whine about. However, there seems to be a silent agreement between all those who came before Gen Z that these youngsters are overly lazy. And if some may agree with this point of view, there was this one admission consultant who decided to speak against such a prejudice.

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Key Takeaways

  • There’s a common stereotype of Gen Z as being lazy. However, this belief doesn’t consider the significant differences in educational and societal expectations between generations.
  • There’s an intense pressure and high expectations placed on Gen Z, especially in the context of education and career preparation. With the shift towards a highly competitive academic environment, modern students are required to juggle numerous activities and responsibilities, often at the cost of their personal well-being.
  • Criticisms of younger generations are a recurring theme, that reflects broader societal tendencies to scrutinize and underestimate the youth.

Gen Z is probably the first generation with such a vast selection of available technologies. Of course, millennials also witnessed the appearance and evolution of computers and mobile devices, yet still, they were forced to learn using them, rather than growing up with those inventions. Because of such advanced circumstances, most older people may think that younger ones are having it easy and therefore becoming lazier and lazier with each new social media platform and AI chatbot appearing on the scene.

Especially this narrative is widely used when talking about modern students, who don’t have to visit the library each day to find the needed material or even (sometimes) appear at the campus for that matter. They have everything they need to study hard, yet most adults (including teachers and professors) think they don’t use all those opportunities, simply because Gen Z is not hardworking enough.

Not everyone holds such a view, though. When browsing through Reddit, we found one admission counselor who believes that calling Zoomers lazy is just pure insanity.

Talking from experience, this professional thinks that even though there are lazy individuals (as basically in any other generation as well), calling the whole generation not hardworking enough is unjustified.

Student Life Behind The Curtains: What Many Don’t See

Having worked at a prep center and a high school, and still committing to helping students with their education as an admission consultant, this Redditor has seen and worked with a lot of different Gen Z students. Some of them were lazy, many – just burned out. Yet, even with this in mind, this professional wouldn’t call them lazy.

Is Gen Z Actually Lazy? This Admission Consultant Doesn't Think So

The first thing that the OP pays attention to is the fact that the modern admission climate is nowhere near the level it was before. And it is true. Even throughout this one year, we heard hundreds of stories where students tried hard to combine millions of classes and extracurriculars just to make it past the technical check during their college applications. Sitting through AP/Honors classes, preparing for the GMAT, and doing extra school work (in addition to their usual homework) has become the new normal for an average American student. Generally, this is done not because they are genuinely interested in all of those subjects they decided to take on, but because in this market, this is the only way you can get into a college that will help you build your future career.

With such an approach to studying, there seems to be one general tendency among most Gen Z students: working themselves “to the bone” to win at least a slight chance at building their future. The picture of “successful success” is also something that the OP noticed to be ingrained in modern students’ brains, where everything should be perfect, and if it’s not, then they are lazy and are not doing everything they can.

The Results of Constant Pursue of Success

This relentless pursuit often comes at a cost. The OP observes that while many students label themselves as idle, this is more a reflection of their unmet, sky-high expectations than an actual lack of effort. They are the generation of perpetual motion, often sacrificing sleep, social life, and sometimes their mental health, striving to meet an ever-moving target. This narrative is rarely acknowledged in the loud debates that hastily label them as the “lazy generation.”

Moreover, the perception of laziness is paradoxically connected with the digital fluency of Gen Z. Their adeptness at leveraging technology for efficiency is often misconstrued as a shortcut to hard work. Yet, in reality, it represents a shift in how work is done, not the effort it entails. This misinterpretation by older generations overlooks the complexity of their multitasking abilities and the intellectual labor involved in working in a digital world.

What Other People Think

This post raised a lot of voices. And we were surprised to see more people agreeing with the OP than proving them wrong.

One seasoned professional contrasts his relatively straightforward educational and career path with the daunting challenges faced by his children today. He reflects

This sentiment is echoed by a Gen X parent who dismisses the recurring theme of generational laziness as mere cyclical criticism passed down through the ages.

“It’s just generational nonsense. Every generation is worse than the one before. I’m Gen X and remember hearing people grumble about millennials being entitled and lazy. Then the millennials grew up and started complaining about Gen Z being entitled and lazy. I’m sure Gen Z will do the same to Gen Alpha.”

Nonetheless, the parent agrees that kids nowadays certainly don’t “have it easy”, as they admit that their own children worked much harder in high school than they ever did. Zoomers themselves tend to agree though, that nothing is black and white. Every generation has its hardworking and sluggish people, and they are no exception.

“Kids who care enough about college admissions to get a college consultant probably are a very poor representation of the generation as a whole… But also an older generation calling the younger generation lazy is nothing new.”

This perspective was supported by another commenter, who believed that socioeconomics has a great deal to play in such various educational outcomes.

“There’s apparently been a massive divide between student competitiveness which might correlate to the wealth gap, where some students are achieving more than ever, while others fail to read at a 3rd-grade level”

The Main Point

There certainly can be a lot more speculations and discussions on the topic of whether Zoomers of today are lazy and have no interests other than their phone. And there may be various thoughts on this topic. Nonetheless, one thing many seem to agree on though, is not the level of laziness in modern Gen Zers and not even the role of technology in all of this. The one statement that everyone seems to find true is that no matter what you do, how much most of your peers work, and what tools and privileges you have at your disposal, previous generations will always find a way to accuse the more modern youth of being “not enough”.

“There’s an old thread on Twitter with newspaper stories about teenagers being lazy, the new generation being spoiled. It starts with stories about Gen Z from 2020 and then proceeds to share stories from every decade, every generation saying the same thing. It has stories from the 1800s and I believe even some from the 1700s! It’s a story as old as time. Youth is wasted on the young!”


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