Opinion: Trauma? Generation Z is used to it

Other generations have made the world a complicated and scary place, boring Generation Z to endure the messes they have made


Beth Brackmann

Certainly, every generation has experienced its share of trauma. But Generation Z has perhaps endured a more complex word, especially more complex than Generation X and Millennials.

Alayna Majkrzak, Opinions Editor

Coming home from school to the news being turned on by a parent. This is one of the worst feelings for Generation Z, they never really know what to expect. The flickering of the screen could be about yet another school shooting, another nuclear threat. Though, this possibility of turning on the news to a new horrific event is the reality that Generation Z has grown up with. Gen z has grown all too used to the way terrible things keep happening in the world around them.

Generation Z is anyone born in the 1996–2012 time period. This expanse of time means that people in Gen Z can range anywhere from 10 years old to 25. Especially the younger part of this generation, it is hard or nearly impossible to remember a time where there weren’t terrible things going on in the world to worry about.

After the tragedy at Columbine high school in 1999 where 13 people were killed, lockdown drills for school shootings became increasingly more common. Many people who graduated high school prior to 1999 never had to do lockdown drills. The parents of Generation Z (majority are Generation X) remember doing tornado drills, and fire drills and yet never drills for school shootings. Due to doing lockdown drills every year since they entered school, Generation Z is used to them. Not only are students used to the drills, but they are used to the constant threat that there can be a school shooting any day of the week. It has gotten to the point where students have become desensitized to this prospect and harsh reality that they grew up living with.

Majority of Generation Z had their high school years fully taken away from them due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Proms canceled, classes canceled, and the whole idea of high school changed in an instant. Generation Z went from living their life to being in and out of quarantine and online school for the next 2 years and beyond. This set a whole generation behind socially from the physical isolation they had to endure and still have to endure. Missing out on key high school experiences due to something that is completely out of their control.

Generation Z has had to not only deal with troubles with gun violence from inside the United States, but also threats from other countries toward them. War and threats of war have been consistent throughout history, and every generation. What makes this different for generation z is the multiple threats of Nuclear warfare. Whether it was North Korea testng missiles, or Russia invading Ukraine and threatening those who try to help with nuclear strikes. Even the thought of nuclear warfare is terrifying, but Generation Z grew up with these threats, along with the threat of a possible WWIII.

Every generation has had trauma. From the Vietnam war, to consistent protesting. What makes what has happened to generation Z considerably different is the fact it has never stopped. Generation Z has never gotten a break from it. No pause button to the terrible events happening in the world around them. Other generations could catch a break, where generation z had only ever known the tramatic terror around them.

Generation Z has had to deal with more than many other generations, and they can never seem to catch a break from it. Event after major life event keeps falling into their laps. Especially for a generation that is set back socially, it is hard to find ways to deal with this considerable trauma they have been going through for years. Generation Z is used to these things happening, so when they use humor to cope, older generations should realize that Generation Z is used to this because older generations didn’t do anything to stop it.