There are 75.4 million millennials in America. I am one of them.

My phone is in my hand at all times. I am obsessed with checking my email and every single one of my social media sites. I care about who I follow on social media. I love #hashtags. I have binge-watched 10 seasons of my favorite Netflix show in a month and a half. I enjoy taking basic selfies with the floral headband Snapchat filter. I am obsessed with the 90’s. And I enjoy long being surrounded with technology. However, hope is not lost for me.

Yes, I’m a millennial, but the things above do not define who I am. I care about politics. I care about diversity. I care about my career path. I prefer to read a paperback book instead of using my iPad to read. I volunteer in my community. I have touched, read and had ink-stained fingers from a real life newspaper, wow! I first experienced patience when waiting for the AOL running man to connect to my dial-up internet. I work to pay for school. I want a job that I’m passionate about every single day, not a job that pays me to hate what I do. I don’t see myself hopping from job to job. I’m a millennial who’s very concerned about the future of this country. And yes, I have looked up from my phone and conversed with strangers.

Millennials are more than just a label. Millennials are the generation that will form 50 percent of the global workplace by 2020. Let that sink into your mind.

Being a millennial has a negative connotation attached a lot of times and here’s why.

1. Technology

Technology has evolved tremendously. There’s an app for everything, and there are all sorts of gadgets. I would be lying if I said I didn’t spend a lot of time on my cell phone. Everything I do revolves around my iPhone. Sometimes I wish that I wasn’t so attached to my phone. I admit that I sometimes miss out on making memories with my friends and family, speaking to people during elevator rides, living in the moment and studying for exams all because I’m too busy looking down at my phone. Honestly, it’s sad that an object smaller than you and I has the power to completely overtake our life.

However, technology is what makes us bond with those who didn’t grow up with the vast amount of technology that we have today. I find satisfaction in sitting with my 75-year-old aunt and teaching her how to use Facebook, since that’s the only platform that she uses to stay connected with her children and grandchildren. I remember how excited she was when I taught her how to “share” a post. I love when I can teach my grandma how efficient it is to pay her bills online instead of mailing a check. Yes, technology is quickly evolving and it is consuming our lives, but it’s the one thing that is connecting us all, millennials and non-millennials.

2. Millennials are doing things themselves without help.

An article I read by the Huffington Post said that fifty years ago, it was considered honorable to work 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Today, people who strive to live that same dream are prematurely laid off, can’t survive on their salaries, or don’t have enough to retire. It’s a different world, indeed.

When I first began working I wasn’t working a 9-5 job. I was working 12-15 hours a day. Primarily because work was always busy, long hours were the norm and I needed the extra money to pay my way through school. I’m a first-generation student and my parents didn’t have a college fund waiting for me. I had to work 40-55 hours per week in the summer to pay for school. I was exhausted all the time, but I did it all with little help from my parents. I hardly ever asked my parents for help, because I felt like I could do things on my own—which can be a blessing or a curse.

I love my parents and I appreciate all that they do, but I’m the one that chose to pursue higher education, I’m the one that chose to do things without asking for help, I’m the one that chose to live on my own, I’m the one that chose to work long hours and I’m the one that chose to buy my own car. I can gladly say that I’ll begin my senior year of college in the fall and choosing to be independent has been extremely difficult, but not impossible. Millennials are working hard to become successful—I am proof of that.

We are more than a selfie and a filter.

More than the slang that we speak. We are more than a cell phone that’s glued to our hands; more than the Netflix shows that we watch. We are more than a statistic.

We are a generation of hope. We are a generation that uses technology to advance the marketplace. We are the generation that has a strong work ethic. Yes, we mess around on our phones and immediately check the notifications that buzz through, take selfies and are plugged into our smartphones, but there is still hope for us. We are not all arrogant, selfish, whiny and needy. Times are changing. It’s time to treat millennials like the professionals that many of us strive to be.