What a year for our nation’s juniors and seniors in high school, freshmen in college, high school and college students learning on zoom, and graduating seniors looking for first jobs. Visions of campus tours, vibrant dorm life, student activities, sports, collaboration, new friendships, engaging classes, and experiential learning are on hold for many students. There are so many transitions from a high school senior year to one’s first career. Add Covid to the mix and many in Gen Z are struggling.
Gen Z includes everyone born between 1997 and 2015. They are 8-23 years old. These students are our digital natives. They are the most racially diverse generation. “A bare majority (52%) are non-Hispanic white – significantly smaller than the share of Millennials who were non-Hispanic white in 2002 (61%). One-in-four Gen Zers are Hispanic, 14% are black, 6% are Asian and 5% are some other race or two or more races.”
The older members of Generation Z are on a somewhat different educational trajectory than the generations that came before them. “They are less likely to drop out of high school and more likely to be enrolled in college. Among 18- to 21-year-olds no longer in high school in 2018, 57% were enrolled in a two-year or four-year college. This compares with 52% among Millennials in 2003 and 43% among members of Gen X in 1987.”
And, they are facing Covid.
Over half of the oldest Gen Zers (ages 18 to 23) reported that they or someone in their household had lost a job or taken a cut in pay because of the outbreak. Gen Zers are struggling to find work to pay for college and living expenses. More than half of Gen Zers are noticing and commenting that their mental health status is fair to poor. They are naming their mental health challenges more than any other generation.
In my practice, I am finding more and more parents are at a loss on how to help their sons and daughters. They are worried for their self esteem, momentum, energy and futures. In talking with parents of Gen Zers I’ve noticed a consistent pattern. It boils down to parental concern that 18-24 year olds are losing sight of their greatest talents. Strengths-based coaching sessions are helping Gen Zers to notice, reclaim and direct their talents towards goals during this Covid time.
Gen Zers need our support right now. Whether you are a parent, friend, aunt, uncle, grandparents…take a moment to talk to your Gen Zer. Here are some possible discussion topics:
- What’s going well? What talents are helping you achieve your goals?
- What are 1-2 of your greatest challenges this month? How could you use your talents to work through these challenges?
- What is one goal you have for fall 2021? What is one step you can take to start moving towards that goal?
- How can I support you in achieving that goal?
Please reach out to me if you would like to learn more about how to support Gen Z or to offer your favorite Gen Zer support through a coaching session. These are big transitional moments for our young adults. Together we can make this time easier for them.
Our futures depend on them claiming and pointing their talents towards social, political and environmental goals. We want them to thrive.