September 19, 2021

the Covid-19 pandemic, the founding experience of “generation Z”

By Jessica Gourdon, Léa Iribarnegaray, Marine Miller, Eric Nunès and Alice Raybaud

Posted today at 6:30 a.m., updated at 7:31 p.m.

From Paris to Stockholm, via Cork or Turin, young people who entered adulthood during this pandemic period have been deeply affected. They tell of the anger and frustration at having lost their “best years”, their changes of direction, their new political convictions – in particular on the climate, but also their desire to refocus on family, friends, the quest. of a profession which has “meaning” … After this trauma, they also evoke the need to take care, in the future, of their own mental health – one of the priorities of this “generation Z” (people born between 1995 and 2010).

This is what emerges from a call for testimonies launched by five European media (Le Monde, The Guardian, La Vanguardia, Süddeutsche Zeitung, La Stampa) with 18-25 year olds, on their websites and on social networks. Several hundred responses were received – mainly from students and active graduates – which, far from representing all the youths, allow us to understand how these young people, however best equipped to succeed, were transformed by this astonishing period.

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  • Love Flike, 18, high school student, Stockholm: “Mental health will be the big challenge for my generation”

Love Flike.

“This year has made me completely reconsider what I want to do with my life and has changed my outlook for the future. Today, I place much more value than before on the little things, like going for a walk or attending a public event. In Sweden, we didn’t have any real lockdown, but we still had to study at home a lot of the time. I have now spent more than half of my high school years taking online classes and worry about the impact this may have on my future.

I think mental health issues will be the big challenge of my generation. I don’t think the professors realize the huge impact that distance learning has had on us. For my part, while I’m usually a cheerful and optimistic person, I have more and more days when I feel sad and don’t feel like talking to my parents.

The pandemic has taught us a lot. One of them is that we really need to change our way of life in order to be able to sustain life on this Earth, even if it now seems an impossible task, to hear Sweden’s Greta Thunberg talk about the climate crisis, like her. did so at the UN in 2019. ”

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