How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation

Essay #1 (15%)

Draft: Feb. 24 you must have a complete draft peer editing (you must have three copies of your draft with you in class). This will account for 10% of your essay grade.

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Final Deadline: March 2 (final paper must be typed, formatted correctly, and submitted on Moodle as a PDF).


Using one of the questions below, write an essay at home responding to Ann Helen Petersen’s “How Millennials Became the Burnout Generation.” You will use ONE question to develop your own argument, making reference to the essay. Your essay will be well-developed and well-argued and will be between 1000 and 1250 words in MLA format. You may use personal experience and knowledge as well as the essay.

Your essay should have:
• A clear, concise thesis that is arguable
• A one-to-two line summary of the reading you have chosen.
• A fully developed introduction with a hook, a methodology (or blue print) and a thesis statement that argues (yes, I’ve said that twice).
• Several main points (one per paragraph) that are significant, relevant and distinct
• At least three points/ three paragraphs and three instances of direct evidence (quotations) with in-text citations.
• Appropriate academic tone and style.
• Correct grammar and spelling.
• You may use personal knowledge, but do not introduce generalizations that you cannot back up.
• If you use information outside of these two essays, make sure to provide them on your works cited page. Please see links on Moodle.


1) Ann Helen Petersen suggests that Millennials (and younger generations) have been taught the art of self-optimization since childhood. Making reference to both Petersen’s and Rosin’s essays, comment on how both essays deal with children’s leisure and the urge to protect and “optimize” children’s lives. Do you agree with Rosin’s argument that there has been an “erosion of child culture”? Why or why not? Make sure to provide evidence in each paragraph.
2) In arguing against the criticism of Millennials—that “[they]’re lazy and entitled”—Petersen points to a number of structural economic and social reasons why younger generations are “burned out,” suggesting that people in many different circumstances experience burnout. Choose one (or several) of the definitions of burnout that Petersen relies on. Does burnout effect young people here in the Lower Mainland? Why or why not? Write an essay exploring why a young person working and going to school in Vancouver may experience the “burnout” that Petersen is talking about. Give clear examples and make sure to respond directly to Petersen.
3) Petersen points out some examples of how modern life makes us more “efficient” and pushes us to “self-optimize,” often in the name of selfcare. Looking at several products or social media trends that you see around you, explain how younger generations are pushed to go above and beyond to make themselves seem productive at all times. You may wish to devote each body paragraph to a different product/ activity/ social media trend that fits into this idea. Feel free to provide images to accompany your essay.

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