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Cabarrus Magazine

Generation Y: Life in Real-Time

Aug 01, 2015 12:00AM ● By Jason Huddle

By: Kimberly Cassell

Generation Y members were born between 1981 and 1994. Also called Echo Boomers, the Millennial Generation and Generation Next, they’ve experienced the Persian Gulf War, 9/11 and the infiltration of modern technology. 

 According to, “Generation Y’s Baby Boomer parents have nurtured and protected them, providing for their every emotional, educational, and physical need and want. They have praised and rewarded their children for minimal effort and have increased the expectations of school and community in educating, entertaining and protecting their children. In some respects, this group is opportunistic and will job hop to meet their immediate wants, needs and goals.”  

LeAnna Kim Smith turns 22 this month, is a college student at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and is a huge advocate of animal rescue, particularly cats. 


CM: Where is your hometown? 

LeAnna: I’m from Concord. 


CM: How would you describe your personality? 


X Outgoing 



X Independent 


CM: What is your definition of family? 

LeAnna: Family to me are the people who love you unconditionally. It doesn’t have to be by blood. 


CM: Are your parents married, divorced or deceased? 

LeAnna: They divorced when I was 15. I live with my grandmother, more as a caregiver. I make her breakfast, help her get ready in the morning. 


CM: How old were you when you got your first job? What was it? 

LeAnna: I tutored when I was 14 and I got paid; I worked at Stein-Mart when I was 16. Now I volunteer at the hospital and I get paid to work here (Princeton’s Meow). 


CM: How important is education to you? 

LeAnna: Really important, especially higher education. I’m studying nursing and I graduate in 2017. I either want to work in forensic medicine, the ER, trauma or I want to work in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). I’m also thinking about working in pediatric oncology. 


CM: Are you married, single, divorced? 

LeAnna: Single. I would like to get married one day and have children. I definitely think it is in the picture. I really want a pair of twins, even if that sounds crazy! 


CM: What are your thoughts about children before marriage? 

LeAnna: Today it’s very common to have children before marriage, but I think I might be old-fashioned. I like the ideal of marriage before children. I think it lets you be stable and grounded before you have children. You’ve planned more for that and you’re not surprised. You’re not being trapped into it. You’ve made a decision that you’re financially, emotionally and socially prepared for. 


CM: What has been your most radical fashion trend? 

LeAnna: I just kind of wear jeans and t-shirts. I’m not a fashionista. 


CM: Do you rent or own (home, car)? 

LeAnna: Neither. I live with my grandmother and my mom helps pay for my tuition. It’s my father’s car but he lets me use it!  


CM: What do you do for fun? 

LeAnna: I inline speed skate (shows me bruised legs). A lot of people don’t realize that it’s a really intense sport. I am just starting so I won’t compete for a while. I’m really into it. We practice at Frye’s. There are regionals, nationals and world. It’s done in age groups; I’m in the senior age group. I’ve been in marching band, all types of dance, track…I’ve done a little bit of everything. 


CM: What is your definition of happiness; success? 

LeAnna: To me it’s being content in your life, whether that is flipping burgers or living with your entire family.  


Whatever makes you content and feel joy. You wake up in the morning and like doing what you’re doing. Not everyone is going to be the CEO of Microsoft. My friend wants to stay home and be a mom. I will be happy when I’m a nurse. 


CM: Aside from school, how often do you read a book? Physical, eBook or audio? 

LeAnna: Frequently. I like physical books. I have a Kindle and I have an iPad, but I like the feel of physical books. 


CM: How important are the Internet and social media to you? How often do you use them? 

LeAnna: My phone (which she’s holding) is pretty much attached to my hip. Everyone knows that if they text or email me, I’m going to respond right away. 


Social media is important to me besides being social…amber alerts, missing children…if someone’s dog is lost. I homed a cat by social media. 


CM: What’s your favorite way to communicate with friends/family? 

LeAnna: Texting or Facebook texting. Since I help take care of my grandmother, I text with my aunt, uncle and mom. 


CM: With regard to the state of the world, please rank the following’s importance (1-7) to you, no. 1 being most important/of most urgency. 


2  Economy 

6  Environment 

1  Healthcare 

5  Politics 

7  Religion 

4  Social Topics (abortion, gay rights, race relations, transgender, etc.) 

3  Terrorism 


CM: Have you thought about retirement? 

LeAnna: It’s a little scary – the thought that there might not be social security. I like the idea of buying a house and hav-ing that when I retire, and a reliable car. 


CM: What do you anticipate your retirement will be like? 

LeAnna: I want to retire from full-time nursing earlier than most (at 55) because I want to foster cats more. And I want to volunteer at Princeton’s. 

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