Millennials grew up in a time of rapidly changing technology. They were the first generation to have computer labs and access to the internet to help with school projects, but they were also old enough to remember life without constant connectivity.
The generation navigated school during the transition period from the age of industry to the age of technology. The rapidly changing landscape meant that the things they learned in school (and life) no longer matter.
While scrolling through Reddit, I found a thread in the popular R/askreddit sub asking Millennials to share the things they learned while growing up that are now useless.
Here are the millennial skills facing extinction.
Memorizing Phone Numbers
As Millennial children, we needed to memorize our home phone number, best friend’s number, emergency numbers, and any other phone number we might need.
Gen Z always has a digital Rolodex in their pocket and will never understand the struggle of recalling the digits for their favorite pizza place.
Many of us remember our childhood phone numbers but can’t tell you our partner’s phone number.
First-generation cell phones didn’t have fancy keyboards or swipe functionality. Instead, they had the traditional 9-number keypad, with each number representing 3-4 letters.
Millennials became expert texters on the 9-digit keypad. Our thumbs may have been sore, but we learned to type out those messages with fantastic speed.
New cell phones make texting more accessible, and the T9 skills we mastered are now obsolete.
Gen X had their mixed tapes, Gen Z has their Spotify playlists, but Millennials had CD burners. We learned how to grab music from our favorite tapes (or online sharing platform) and burn them into a CD to have our own version of the mixed tape.
We admit the newer playlists are far superior to any burned CD.
Memorizing TV Channels
Before streaming, we had cable. There were hundreds of channels, but most showed horrible programming nobody watched. Most of us generally stuck to 5-10 favorite channels, but discovering what was on those channels was a nightmare.
The TV Guide channel was our best resource, but the slow-scrolling platform took forever to reach the 1-2 channels we cared about. We needed to memorize our favorite channels and watch TV Guide like a hawk to find out when our favorite shows would air.
Kids these days, with their instant access to anything they want to watch, will never know the struggle.
Before graphic design, we had Word Art. Millennials were the first generation to use early PowerPoint presentations for school projects and quickly learned how to make them shine with Word Art and Clip Art.
With all the advances in design software, this skill is nearly obsolete, though PowerPoint still has some options for those who don’t want to give it up.
See More: 101 Fun Things To Draw When Bored
Operating Floppy Disks
Some younger folks don’t even recognize the imagery from the ubiquitous save icon. The floppy disk was one of the first ways to save progress on a computer and transport it to another system.
Millennials quickly learned to format these disks, reserve disk space, and manage their files. Floppy disks faded with the advancements of CDS, and now that we have cloud storage and thumb drives, nobody even thinks about the original floppies anymore.
Industrious Millennials developed a hot crafting trend. We made little lizards out of beads to showcase our artistic abilities.
Some of us even sold them to our classmates, highlighting our early love of side hustles.
One Redditor said they’re trying to bring it back. “I just made a couple bead lizards with my six-year-old! She put one on her backpack and gave one away to a friend! It was a huge hit,” they said.
Maybe the skill isn’t obsolete after all.
Programming the VCR
Do you remember when recording it on the VCR was the only way to ensure you didn’t miss a show?
Those machines were life savers but weirdly challenging to operate. You had to ensure the clock time was correct and program the exact right record time, or you’d miss the latest episode of your favorite show.
Now, we can watch whatever we want whenever we want, and Millennials’ VCR programming skills are no longer needed.
Boomers constantly deride younger folks about not knowing cursive. Millennials were among the last generations to learn fancy handwriting in schools, but with advances in digital technology, the skill is no longer needed.
Many Millennials say they never even learned cursive correctly in the first place. “Did you not end up with just a weird smish smash of both cursive and printed handwriting?” asked one.
Others said they still use it.
Free Collect Calls
Before cell phones, we had payphones. And if you couldn’t pay, you could make a collect call, where the receiver agreed to pay outrageous fees for the honor of taking the call.
The service required you to state your name, so the receiver could decide whether they wanted to accept the fees or not. “Will you accept a collect call from so-and-so”? The automated line would ask.
Millennials learned how to overcome the fees, replacing their name with the message they needed to get across.
The best example is the famous commercial where a new dad calls collect from a hospital.
“Would you like to accept a collect call from we-had-a-baby-its-a-boy?”
The ultimate millennial game had us showcasing our fancy footwork by kicking a ball around, preventing it from touching the ground.
Hacky sack groups filled playgrounds and college campuses in the late 90s/early 2000s, but they’ve gone the way of 8-tracks and VCRs.
Millennials will fondly remember our extraordinary hacky sack skills, but we no longer have the opportunity to show them off.
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Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.