I am excited about this week’s guest, my daughter Aimee. More and more Aimee has become a special friend and one of my best teachers. I am learning so much from my twenty year old daughter. Women Aimee’s age have come into age during the era of smartphones and social media and they can offer us an interesting glimpse of what it is like for this new generation. I thank you, Aimee, for sharing your thoughts with us!
Listen in here: The Challenges of being a Young Woman in 2017
If you prefer to read text, our conversation is below:
Debbie DiPietro: Hello. This is Debbie DiPietro, of Courageously Go!. I’m the creator of my award-winning blog The Warm Milk Journal, where the mission is to live the life of our dreams by day and sleep restfully at night. For many years, I was challenged with anxiety and social anxiety, and it caused a lot of sleepless nights, and I started writing about it. I know that a lot of people out there share these issues. That is always a project that was always a project of the heart. Courageously Go! is an extension of the Warm Milk Journal, where I believe that the world will be a better place when women feel strong and confident and joyful. You can learn more about this program on courageouslygo.com. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.
Debbie DiPietro: Now, I’m excited about introducing today’s guest. Her name is Aimee Techentien, and she, so far, is the youngest guest that we have had on Courageously Go!. Aimee is a 20 year old sophomore at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. She’s majoring in computer science, and like many young women her age, Aimee is figuring, or beginning to figure life out, navigating the world of being in college and being away from home for the first time, and thinking about her future and relationships. The difference now for a woman Aimee’s age is that she came of age during the age of social media, unlike women my age or older. We didn’t have that, and so I invited Aimee to come on here and discuss what it’s like to be a 20 year old woman. I’ve had many conversations with Aimee recently about this, and she’s really opened my eyes and given me some insights what it must be like to be this generation. I invited her to be on, and I think we’re going to have an interesting conversation about the challenge of being 20 years old in the year 2017. I would also like to mention that Aimee just also happens to be my daughter. Aimee Techentien, welcome to Courageously Go!.
Aimee T.: Hi Mom.
Debbie DiPietro: Hi Aimee.
Aimee T.: How are you?
Debbie DiPietro: I am doing fantastic, and yourself?
Aimee T.: Pretty good. I’m pretty good. I also want to know, through this conversation, what it was like for your generation back then.
Debbie DiPietro: Okay. That’ll be fun. I know that you’ve often said, “Mom, I’m jealous of you. I wish I had come of age in the 80s.” I’ve always found that kind of humorous, because I’ve always thought that was an obnoxious decade. Maybe you could share with us, why do you feel that way? Why do girls your age feel nostalgic about the 80s? I think that would be interesting. Let’s start with that.
Aimee T.: It’s so … I don’t know what it is, but my roommate, she went out and bought a record player, and she has all these records that she plays. I have a Polaroid. I feel like, it’s hard to explain, it just seems like it was simpler, like it was so much easier. People were less, I don’t know, superficial maybe? I don’t know. It feels like human connection was a little bit more real.
Debbie DiPietro: Yeah. Listening to music, I actually, I remember getting my allowance money and going to the local drug store and getting a little 45 record. I had my little player, and now it’s different, right?
Aimee T.: Yeah.
Debbie DiPietro: So simpler. When I wanted to talk to, when I was your age, or a little younger, I would have to actually pick up the phone, or see them in person, but that’s not the case now in the age of social media, is it?
Aimee T.: No. But at the same time, a lot of people argue that we don’t interact as much. I’d argue that we interact more, because I’d say I’m talking to at least one friend at any point in the day, because we’re texting, we’re sending each other things. It’s constant, you know what I mean?
Debbie DiPietro: You’re always plugged in with your friends.
Aimee T.: Yeah. Always. Probably every 10 minutes I’ve got two new notifications about someone sent you this Instagram, or someone sent you a SnapChat.
Debbie DiPietro: I’m fairly active on Facebook, but I have to tell you Aimee, the whole SnapChat thing is a mystery to me. It is. I see you young people on it, and … What’s the appeal to SnapChat? I’m kind of curious.
Aimee T.: It’s the most private of the social media. It’s basically replacing texting. I probably SnapChat more than I text or call, because you send videos, you send pictures, there are cute filters. It’s very, yeah. Also, it’s great because if you want to know if someone has opened your text, but not sent something back, they have no option but to tell you, this person opened the message you sent, whereas on text messages, you can just turn that off, and you’ll never know whether or not they saw what you sent. But on SnapChat, you always know. You can’t get away with anything, so it’s great.
Debbie DiPietro: Okay. I also read somewhere where a lot of people your age got on SnapChat, maybe Instagram, because a lot of your parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles are on Facebook. Is there some truth to that?
Aimee T.: Yeah, definitely, I’d say. 100%. Yeah. It’s SnapChat’s for us kind of, I guess.
Debbie DiPietro: Okay. Fair enough.
Aimee T.: Facebook, you don’t want to post anything on Facebook that’s too risque, because the entire family’s on there.
Debbie DiPietro: Some person like your mom might see something, huh?
Aimee T.: Exactly.
Debbie DiPietro: All right. Well, I think we’ve talked about this before. There’s a little bit, I don’t know if it’s a dark side, but to social media where there’s pressure. I know we’ve talked about the beautiful people that you all follow on Instagram, and there’s kind of a high standard. Why don’t we touch on that, because I think that really affects you?
Aimee T.: Yeah. We could talk about that. Here, I found a way to phrase it that’s perfect.
Debbie DiPietro: Okay.
Aimee T.: I feel like back in the day, it was easy to say, “Oh, I don’t look like these models, but I should be okay with that because they’re models. They’re on a magazine. They’re on TV. They’ve been photoshopped.” Then social media came of age, and it was like, “Oh, okay, I don’t look like these influencers. They’ve been photoshopped, blah blah blah.” But now, in 2017, with all the apps that we have, these models and these people who look perfect and have been photoshopped, they’re not models. They don’t live in Hollywood. They are your friends, and they are your roommates and your classmates, and they have literally photoshopped themselves into perfection on their social media. It’s like your everyday people that you’re comparing yourselves to, but on a way different level. It’s crazy. I was just having that conversation with my roommate, actually. We were like, “Yeah, this is nuts.”
Debbie DiPietro: Wow. Give us a little more detail. What is that like? Do you all feel competitive with one another? What’s the dynamic of all of that?
Aimee T.: Kind of. I don’t feel competitive at all with my friends, but I think I choose really good friends. I go to a college where Greek life is everything, and I see it. All the sorority girls, and even me, we all post the same pictures at the same time. If it’s game day, all of a sudden on your Instagram feed you’ll see 150 of the same picture, over and over and over again, and everyone’s just trying to get likes. It’s ridiculous. It doesn’t feel like competition, because it feels like just regular likes. “Oh, I got 200 likes.” If you didn’t get 200 likes, it would get to you, you know what I mean?
Debbie DiPietro: So is it about the … What’s the drive, what’s the motivation? Is it to get that attention after you post something? To get the likes? What’s the energy behind all the posting that you people, that you guys do?
Aimee T.: I really don’t know. I think it’s different for everyone. I think the attention is one thing, if you really like that. A lot of people will post things, this is a common thing, if you have an ex, or someone who ever put you down, and you really want to show them that, “Look at me now,” you can just easily post a picture, and they’ll see it, and you can tell if they’ve seen it. It’s everything.
Debbie DiPietro: Interesting. You probably know this about me, but our listeners don’t, and I’ll share this. As you know, Aimee, especially as a young person, and still sometimes nowadays, I’ve always been a bit of a people pleaser, right?
Aimee T.: Yeah.
Debbie DiPietro: Wanting to seek, needing that approval from others. When I was your age or younger, really the main things were probably the grades I got in school and those types of things. I can’t even imagine, the little people pleaser that I was, now if I grew up in this age of social media, and was posting and then constantly checking to see how people were receiving my posts, I think that would have made me absolutely crazy to be honest with you.
Aimee T.: Yeah.
Debbie DiPietro: I don’t know how I would have been able to handle that. I, even, at the age, the mature age I’m at, I sometimes have to self-check myself, because every now and then I get into this mode with my posting on Facebook, and I get excited because it was a really neat picture of something we did, or something, and then I’m checking my phone and catching myself, how many people have noticed. Sometimes, I’ll say this is silly and I’ll turn my phone off. But there’s sort of that impulse, right?
Aimee T.: Totally.
Debbie DiPietro: There was a wonderful show on 60 Minutes about how companies who created these apps know how we humans work and function, and we get addicted, because you get that positive reception, and the dopamine, the feel good chemicals, go rushing through our system. It’s an interesting thing. Do you and your friends, do you view this as just a part of life, or do you question it ever?
Aimee T.: We question it, but I think that me and my friends, I don’t mean to toot our own horns here, but I think are kind of more enlightened than other kids.
Debbie DiPietro: Yes. Do tell. Do share.
Aimee T.: I feel like as far as a 20 year old girl, and also my friends, as far as that goes, we’re pretty much as detached from social media as you can get. I only have maybe 16 pictures up on my Instagram. I never am on Facebook. I’ll SnapChat, but that’s more private. Even with us, it’s just part of life. It’s like you have your life, but then you have your internet life.
Debbie DiPietro: That sounds like you have a healthy balance. I would agree with that, because when you’re home, I do see that you’re not on your phone constantly like other people. That’s good.
Aimee T.: I’d say that’s a minority, yeah.
Debbie DiPietro: That’s a minority. So the majority of the young people are on it a lot, would you say?
Aimee T.: Yeah. I’d say a lot. But I think as far as people being attached to their phones, what I’ve noticed is that it’s the older generation that are worse with that. Because anyone above maybe 30 years old Facebook constantly. If you’re drinking a nice coffee, you’ve got to take a picture. It’s so funny. Whatever meal you cook, got to take a picture. I think that it’s the Facebook users that are a little bit worse of perpetrators.
Debbie DiPietro: Are you busting our generation? Is that what I’m hearing?
Aimee T.: Yeah. I think, that’s just what I’ve observed. Fair observation.
Debbie DiPietro: Well, fair enough. You mentioned your girlfriends, what about boys and dating, does that happen on social media? How is that these days? What’s dating like for you there at FSU? Doesn’t have to be just you personally, but just in general, what is dating like there at your age?
Aimee T.: It’s pretty non-dating. It’s very casual. I mean, maybe it might be the age. I’m hoping when boys get a little bit older, they’ll get a little bit more mature. I think that FSU is a bad example of what dating is like for this generation as a whole, because I think it’s just like a party scene, so it’s not the best. When dating does happen, it’s a lot on social media. If you meet someone, you either meet them online or you meet them in person, but then you go into this phase, which I don’t think existed a few years ago, which is when you’re talking, is what they call it. That’ll be like you’ll SnapChat each other every day, or you’ll DM each other. You’ll always like each other’s Instagram posts. That’s called the talking phase. From there, you might date that person, but I feel like it’s kind of rare. Most relationships that I know of … I don’t think I know one person who has a newly formed relationship. Most of them are from years ago, and they’re long-term. Dating’s very non-existent, as far as FSU’s concerned.
Debbie DiPietro: Quite a contrast. I know when I was your age, at Oklahoma State University, most of us had a boyfriend or a girlfriend. It’s kind of an interesting thing. I know that recently your president there at Florida State, they stopped the … What’s going on with the Greek life now? They’re not allowed to have parties, or what’s the … Tell us a little bit about that, because I’m sure that’s not an issue just at Florida State, is it?
Aimee T.: No.
Debbie DiPietro: That’s a national, a lot of universities with all the hazing and the underage and over drinking too much alcohol. That’s been affecting a lot of college campuses. You’re literally, I know where you live, and your apartment’s literally right across the street from the house that really got in trouble, right?
Aimee T.: It is, yeah. People kept asking, “Which house was it?” I’d literally go over to my bedroom window, snap a picture of the frat house, like “Here’s the house that it happened.” But it’s crazy. Yeah, our President Thrasher, he kind of banned all … They can’t just throw parties. They’re not allowed to organize. They can live in their houses, because that’s their residence, and they can stay on their meal plans, because that’s how they get their food, but they’re not allowed to organize for any event. They’re really non-existent. They’re not allowed to be frats and sororities as of now. We were really expecting it to … We didn’t expect this to be a permanent thing. We, for sure, thought by now we’d catch the news that Greek life is back on for the spring, but so far, no. So far, it looks like it’s still going to be dead next semester.
Debbie DiPietro: Interesting. Wow. You had, even though you’re not in a house yourself, definitely I know your social life centered a lot around visiting the parties there. How has that changed your social life, or perhaps your academic life? Are you more focused on your studies now, or what’s the climate like now for you and your friends?
Aimee T.: I’d say I’m more focused on my … Pretty much averagely the same focused on my studies, but as for as social life goes, we do a lot more cute things.
Debbie DiPietro: Yeah?
Aimee T.: Yeah. It used to be there were all these parties, we were excited to go to them. Now, it’s like if it’s a Thursday night, instead of, “Oh, we have to go to this,” it’s, “Do you want to a coffee shop, or do you want to go to the library?” Or, me and my roommate went to Atlanta. Just a lot more cute things. “Do you want to go explore this part of town?” It’s been kind of nice. I honestly like it. I kind of like FSU without Greek life. It’s a lot more down-to-earth.
Debbie DiPietro: Okay. Okay. While we still have time, why don’t we talk a little bit? You’re there at school, and you’re figuring your academics and thinking about your future. Why don’t you share with us your journey, Aimee, if you wouldn’t mind, going from what you were initially thinking about majoring in to what you’re currently majoring in? I think that’s an interesting journey that a lot of us can relate to.
Aimee T.: Okay.
Debbie DiPietro: Okay.
Aimee T.: Okay. Well, I initially wanted to major in marketing, and I thought that was kind of perfect for me, because I’m creative but also, I don’t know, what’s the word? I like the design part of creativity. I was like, “Okay, helping businesses, that’s cool.” But then I was like, “Wait, maybe I want to run the businesses,” so I looked at the entrepreneurship program here. All the while, I still kind of felt like my major was kind of empty, and I really wasn’t doing … I really wasn’t working towards something that I liked. Then I was like, “Maybe I need to narrow the focus,” so I found video production, which at FSU is basically broadcast journalism, and that also felt … Everyone was like, “Yeah, that’s perfect for you. Feel great.” But I still, it was not good.
Aimee T.: Then I had this epiphany, I’m like, “You know what? Maybe I’ve been ruling out an entire group of possible paths in STEM.” In science, technology, what is it? Something and math. What’s the E in STEM? Engineering and math. All of a sudden, I was like, “Oh my God. This is what I want to do.” It’s hard, and I still, every day, I’m looking at the list of majors, and I’m like, “I want to do this, I want to do that. I want to be an engineer. I want to be a computer scientist.” It’s so cool. But I’m also a bit late, because it’s sophomore year, and it’s hard to figure. Everyone else is changing their majors right now, too. [crosstalk 00:19:59] in my journey.
Debbie DiPietro: I’m really excited for you. I know recently, I got you an early Christmas present, sent you a book on Java, and you’re all excited on creating code and computer programming, and this is pretty cool. I know that when you were very little, I remember you really being great with math and interested in science, and then for years it’s like you didn’t. You weren’t showing an interest in that anymore.
Aimee T.: This opens up a whole new … Do we have time? How much time do we have?
Debbie DiPietro: Yes. Go ahead.
Aimee T.: Okay. Because I was thinking about it, and I was like, not only did I decide I was never going to go into STEM, but that was never a cognitive … I didn’t consciously make that decision. I was like, “Maybe the whole stereotype that girls are kind of bred to not go into those fields is completely accurate.” I really just glazed over them. I was like, “Oh no.” From the time I was maybe 15 on, I was like, “Oh, no, definitely not. Not for me.” I think that girls really don’t … We’re not taught to go into science or math.
Debbie DiPietro: Maybe there’s a way we can encourage young women to get into those math and science fields more. Do you have any thoughts on that, how we can do that?
Aimee T.: Yeah. I kind of want to … I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, but I kind of want to make maybe a YouTube channel, or a podcast. I think a YouTube channel, because that’s what all of the really young girls are watching, that’s about science topics, or just any topic. It’s about learning. To really just inspire. I haven’t done it yet, but I kind of want to do that. I think it’d be really beneficial.
Debbie DiPietro: That sounds great. I think that would be a great project for you to do.
Aimee T.: Yeah. I think about it a lot. I kind of really want to, but we’ll see.
Debbie DiPietro: Okay. We do have a few minutes left. The topic, of course, is challenges. What it’s like to be a 20 year old in the year 2017. I’ll open the floor up to you. Anything that comes to mind. A lot of our listeners might be women my age and older, and we don’t know what it’s like to be … We remember what it was like when we were 20, but what’s it like to be 20, and how can we help you? How can our generation support your generation, and vice versa?
Aimee T.: Well, let’s see. I think being 20 now is challenging, because I think we’re very scattered.
Debbie DiPietro: In what way? What does that mean?
Aimee T.: There are so many possibilities, and you open your phone and you can have so much, what’s the word? Stimulus, and I think it’s kind of hard to narrow yourself down, or to find who you are when you’re constantly paying attention to a new thing every 10 seconds as you scroll through your Instagram. Maybe just to help our generation, if you have a daughter or son, maybe just helping them find some focus. That’s been my struggle, at least, finding focus.
Debbie DiPietro: Finding focus. Just have the conversations and be supportive.
Aimee T.: Be there, in real time.
Debbie DiPietro: Real time. Okay.
Aimee T.: Yeah.
Debbie DiPietro: Okay. Well that’s good advice. We have two minutes left. I know you don’t really currently have a website or a project that you have for our listeners to visit you, so while we have a couple minutes left, what is something you’re really excited about right now?
Aimee T.: I’m just in coding. I just go into the library and learn some stuff. Coding is really fun, and it’s easy too. So that’s what I’m excited about.
Debbie DiPietro: What kinds of things can you accomplish with coding? I’m not a very technical person, so …
Debbie DiPietro: Well, it sounds wonderful, and while I have a minute, I want to thank you Aimee, for being our guest on Courageously Go!. I’m very proud of you, and I look forward to seeing you soon. Any last thoughts for our audience?
Aimee T.: We really are jealous of you guys growing up in the 80s. It’s real. We’re not making that up. We really are jealous. All of us.
Debbie DiPietro: The long hair and the leggings and the whole bit, huh?
Aimee T.: Yeah. Everything. All of it.
Debbie DiPietro: I love it. You’ve been a pleasure, and I thank you. Again, this is Debbie DiPietro. If you want to hear more about the show, or listen to past episodes, you can check out my new website CourageouslyGo.com. You can email me. My email is email@example.com. If you have any questions, or topic ideas, or perhaps you would be interested in being a future guest, I look forward to hearing from you. Ladies, until next time, remember this, it’s our time to shine. Let’s make it so and courageously go.