“Success” is a subjective word. Its meaning is personal and amorphous: an infinite amount of stories neatly wrapped up in one simple term.
We wanted to clearly define success in the context of Millennial dreams and desires, echoing the sentiments we’ve heard from students around the country: We want a steady job. We want to beat suffocating student debt. We want to leave our mark.
Armed with the awareness of a pressing need for change, we created the Millennial Success Conference in hopes of providing students and post grads with the tools, connections and knowledge to succeed with flying colors.
After seven hours, three panels, one keynote address and countless days of preparation, here are the four moments from GenFKD’s Millennial Success Conference that we feel did just that:
1. “You’re unique. Just like everybody else.”
–Adam Zuckerman of Fosterly on higher education.
This statement sums up today’s paradox of higher education. A lot of what we’ve accomplished as high school and college students is unique. We’re by far the most educated generation, with 34% of 25 to 29 year-olds holding a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, professional degree or doctoral degree. And that’s just one of the many experiences that set us apart. Unfortunately, working hard to earn that degree is no longer good enough. We must attend networking events as inexperienced college students, work a number of unpaid internships and develop a stacked resume before graduation in order to attain the same level of success as our parents before us.
Above all, this statement serves as a reminder of what we’re up against, what we must achieve to succeed and why we can’t give up.
2. “Being an entrepreneur is about getting off your ass.”
–Kyle Nardo of Nardo’s Natural on entrepreneurship.
A blunt synopsis of what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, this statement effectively cuts to the core of the Millennial psyche—one that’s fixated on instant gratification and sedentary accomplishment (we see you, Seamless and Netflix). Having grown up in the information age, it’s natural for us to believe that everything we could ever need is at the tips of our typing fingers.
Becoming a successful entrepreneur, however, requires more than sending emails and perfecting your LinkedIn. It’s about connecting with others, putting yourself in high-risk situations and building your empire from the ground up. The first step is leaving your at home office.
3. “There’s a double-edged sword in believing that we can achieve anything.”
–Gabrielle Jackson of The Millennial Solution on Millennial Identity
We’re thankful to have had Millennial expert Gabrielle Jackson at our conference to remind us that while our ambitious, can-do attitude is lauded, there is always two sides to every story (in this case, Millennials versus Generation X/Baby Boomers). At the risk of coming off as “entitled” or “coddled,” use this sentiment as a gentle reminder that good intentions are not always well received. (But remember, you’re still free to use said criticism as motivation!) In order to successfully assimilate to your work environment, don’t put a cap on your unbridled optimism, but do exercise self-awareness in the company of skeptical coworkers.
4. “This is the time when the small moves you make can affect your life for years to come.”
–Dr. Meg Jay‘s concluding statement on making the most of your 20s.
An appropriate cap to the conference, Dr. Meg Jay’s presentation served as an all-encompassing portrayal of what it means to be a Millennial in 2014 (the term YOLO was even discussed). Amidst a highly intriguing psychology-based talk, her central message permeated: stop trivializing your twenties and start planning for your future today. Because what oftentimes can feel like a never-ending source of confusion, embarrassment and series of mistakes is really a pivotal segue into to your thirties, and subsequently, the rest of your life.
Have a favorite moment of your own? We’re dying to hear it. Leave a comment below or catch up with us on Facebook.