Tuesday, May 18

Turning 18 in the year of Covid-19: young people between bitterness and anxiety


The feast of their 18th birthday is played on Russian roulette. Born in April? Confinement, we forget the celebrations… Born in July? Deconfinement, fiesta! End of October ? Curfew, in bed with the chickens. November? Reconfinement, no luck… For who was born in 2002, the long-awaited celebration of the majority in the excitement and smell of alcohol is a fluke.

Luckily, Mathieu, who studies communication closely but from a distance at the IUT of Troyes. On June 22, he was able to gather around thirty friends at his home, even if the fear that a cluster will develop in the house ” regularly crossed his mind. Versant malchance, Matthéo, in Grande-Synthe (North), born in October. Out of school for two years, just new to civic service, the young man with long brown hair had, for a long time, planned a memorable party in a neighborhood hall. “We would have danced the night away, I would have played with my metal band. “ The Covid-19 dampened his enthusiasm. “Two friends came to have a drink with me. Obviously, it was a bit rotten. I won’t have any memories. “

Common haunt of this millennial generation: starting their adult life in the family living room, in front of a thawed strawberry plant, surrounded by dad, mom and little sister. Relight the candles, no time to take the picture, smile my darling! In psychology college behind her computer, Louise, 18 in December, has already given up on the evening planned in a bar in the Marais reserved for girls, in Paris. “It was a statement, for me… I fell back on a house party, but even that plan fell through. It’s going to end with a cake … There won’t be a before, after. We’re going to remain stupid teenagers in our room, popping buttons. “

Disappointed expectations

They are 17 or 18 years old, still going to high school when they are not trying to study, work, or simply find a reason to get up in the morning. “The major stages that marked their journey to become young adults have disappeared, observes sociologist Monique Dagnaud, research director at CNRS. The age of possibilities, this post-adolescence period when one enjoys one’s freedom, has become the age of agonizing uncertainties. The Covid made them get old in a few months. “ He deprived them of rites of passage as much as of recklessness. With that lightness peculiar to early youth where parents still provide for the essentials, where life and the world open up, infinite, where loves are fleeting, friendships believe themselves to be eternal.

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