We all begin college fresh-faced and full of life. We March Through the Arch predicting we will become smarter, hotter and even more into indie music. But as our GPAs begin to slip, so does our youth. Some among us inevitably begin the insidious, dreaded cycle into the out-of-touch trenches of early-onset millennialism. While technically speaking, we are permanently trapped in the Gen Z cult, the ghost of our 30s can still possess our minds, bodies and outfit choices. Learn how to keep an eye out for early millennial behaviors to keep your friends, your classmates and yourself entrenched in the shining world of TikTok and Mitski.
Symptoms of early-onset millennialism masquerade as inoffensive quirky interests and awkward interpretations of contemporary trends, not outright rejections of the modern era. While the classic millennial might abhor the Gen Z rejection of side parts and skinny jeans, the early millennial will opt for cropped straight-leg jeans and beach waves, maintaining plausible deniability of their condition. Typical cases will begin after a victim assembles their first charcuterie board and will escalate towards the ultimate millennial precursor: posting your first Boomerang since 2013.
Early-onset versus classic millennialism
Early-onset millennialism merely suggests a person’s likelihood to drop off the face of the trend cycle within six months of graduation. They rarely express explicitly millennial traits. Instead, they will adjust Gen Z staples to fit the millennial within them. Consider the fine line between Doc Martens (Gen Z) and Chelsea boots (early-onset millennial). Finding the distinction between a wolf cut and side bangs, naming your car and naming your plants, and tote bags and less cool tote bags is subtle but vital to understanding where millennialism originates.
How to treat symptoms
If you are experiencing early-onset millennialism, try scrolling on TikTok for five to seven hours a day. If a friend is experiencing early-onset millennialism, tie them to a chair using thrifted band tees and blast Soccer Mommy or a comparable indie-pop sensation who looks like they’d read your tarot cards in a packed bar. Some symptoms can be relieved through a three-month GT’s Living Foods kombucha cleanse. Seek professional help from your local Mayfest freshman if early-onset symptoms advance.
Types of early-onset millennialism
Early-onset millennials come in three key forms: the social media millennial, the millennial hobbyist and the beanies and bangs millennial. Each has its own foundational characteristics but many overlap.
The social media millennial
This variation of the early-onset millennial prioritizes their online presence, offering us Instagram polls and beach photoshoots that insult the art of the photo dump. Classic content includes:
- Pictures of sunsets (we’ve seen them)
- Pictures of sunrises (they happen literally every day)
- Birthday photoshoots
- New haircut posts
- Mirror selfies at the bar
The millennial hobbyist
This type of early-onset millennial obsesses over quirky hobbies they won’t let the rest of us forget. Typical perpetrators include:
- Plant parents
- Barefoot Wine sommeliers
- Harry Potter enthusiasts
- Party planners for things that don’t need parties
(think: getting a cat, signing a lease)
The beanies and bangs millennial
This early-onset millennial projects their cross-generational psyche through personal expression. Participants include:
- Dyson Airwrap users
- Warby Parker customers
(stop polling us about which frame style to get)
- Curtain bang devotees
- Chelsea boot wearers
- Water bottle/laptop sticker collage artists