What’s Hard About Being a Millennial?

This week the Diplomatic Courier released its Top 99 Under 33 Foreign Policy Leaders List.

Featuring Millennials from 37 countries and six continents, it includes a powerhouse collection of young attorneys, financiers, technologists, journalists, activists, and scientists—as well as diplomats, soldiers, and government officials—all of whom are making waves in their respective industries.

The accomplishments detailed in the Top 99 List are all the more impressive when one considers the unique challenges Millennials face. Take, for example, the dire state of Millennials in America. According to a 2013 Harvard University Institute of Politics study, just six in ten Millennials are currently employed, while half are in part-time positions. PNC reports that the average 20-something carries $45,000 in debt. And according to the U.S. Census, the median income of households below age 35 dropped 36 percent between 2005 and 2010.

And yet these numbers tell just part of the story. Many Millennials face challenges related more to perceptions of their generation that are more difficult to survey or quantify.

I set out to capture some of these difficulties. On a cross-country train journey sponsored by the Millennial Trains Project in August 2013, I asked my fellow passengers to share their thoughts on what’s hard about being a Millennial. For some fascinating perspectives from another impressive group of young professionals reflecting on their own generation, check out the video!