(LIN) — As an expert in being 20-something, I can say it's not always fun and games. Our generation (in general) is plagued with an increasing student debt mess, a less-than-prime job outlook and college degrees that are seemingly meaningless.
It's easy to get bogged down in the things that we can't control, but that's not productive. What we need sometimes is an attitude adjustment, and a cheerleader to get us through. Enter Kid President .
What started as a few YouTube videos has now launched 9-year-old Robby Novak into the headlines, and even scored him a trip to the White House this week where he met President Barack Obama, and told him he was doing an awesome job.
His most-viewed YouTube video comes in the form of a pep talk, and has well more than 11.6 million page views:
Courtesy of my new role model, here are ways Gen Y can take Kid President's message and make their outlook on life a little less grim, given the cards we've been dealt:
Stop being boring. We live in a dynamic, diverse marketplace that allows for many different kinds of talents. Have a degree in marketing, but aren't satisfied with entry-level salaries? Get creative. Bring something new and different to the table and don't be afraid to try something new.
Life isn't a game. It does have its fun moments, but be sure to mix in some thoughtful, strategic plans in with the fun. You can't continue to blame the economy or government leaders for your bad decisions. Take responsibility and set yourself up now for success in the future. Don't complain about having no retirement funds when that day comes because the government tapped out your Social Security. Roth IRAs are painlessly easy to figure out, and take advantage of your company's 401K.
We're on all on the same team. We're all in the same boat, regardless of how old we are. Don't carry around a "woe is me" attitude because that gets old quick. If you want to be taken seriously, be a team player and don't focus so much on yourself. You'll be amazed at how far this strategy can propel you.
Taking the road less traveled hurts. So your dad and your granddad were doctors. And you're supposed to be one too, right? No way. Don't be afraid to buck the trend and pursue what really makes you happy. Understand your risks before making these big decisions and they won't "hurt" as much. Taking out $50,000 in student loans to study Russian dance because that's what sounds good for you at the moment isn't advisable, but if you are passionate about it and know how to make it work for your future, go for it and savor the Ramen diet.
Create something that will make the world awesome. Don't be afraid to walk away from your daily routine to try something new. Work in a law office all day? Volunteer at an after-school program twice a week. Are you a stay-at-home mom who likes to take photos? Start a blog of kid photography for your friends with children. There are always opportunities when you help other people, and sometimes that's just the little bit of encouragement you need to get yourself through the tough times.
Gen Y is a weekly opinion piece covering issues that matter most to younger, influential Americans through their late 30s. Jessica O. Swink, a 20-something, is the digital political producer for LIN Media and contributing editor to onPolitix .
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