Recently, a colleague wrote about why she likes to go to parties. The piece got a lot of heat and most of it was well deserved. The comment sections beneath the article were full of people decrying her attitude to Covid regulations and most points were well made with readers understandably passionate and upset. I know many people share her attitude, so there’s real value in the reaction.
As young people we need to do all we can to combat the virus. This, for the most part, means respecting the rules. There can be no debate in that and, honestly, pointing fingers at who is worse at respecting the rules, the ‘young’ or the ‘old’, does nothing to help. Social solidarity isn’t about creating an ‘us versus them’ mentality. It’s about standing together in the face of adversity.
That said, everything is so boring lately that everyone is desperate for something exciting to happen that doesn’t make us despair. It’s been this way for about six months and it’s going remain this way for a lot longer. For younger people like me, it’s hard to feel like our youth isn’t melting away.
It’s on that note that one passage really stood out to me. The writer spoke about how young people and students are the ones that will have to pick up this mess when coronavirus disappears. Searching for jobs in a broken economy while saddled with student debt, a climate crisis, and no pensions to look forward to. A moment of poignant writing from my colleague, to say the least.
The pandemic is stealing some of our youth, but it wasn’t the virus that burned our futures
Obviously, that doesn’t justify major breaches of corona rules. But under the pressure of all that, and a university education that expects more of students in less time than ever before, is it any surprise that we want to feel normal for a night? Of course, it’s not. Acting otherwise for a few likes in a comment section risks missing an important point.
When coronavirus goes away, those who could work from home will be safe and their jobs will resume, pensions will keep paying out and so on. Many aren’t so lucky. Coronavirus has further exposed deep inequalities in our society. My generation is generally well-educated and expected to work harder than our predecessors, all while suffering constant accusations of laziness and idiocy.
Most of us know we will never own a house, experience job security, afford pensions, or start a family. The pandemic is stealing some of our youth, but it wasn’t the virus that burned our futures.
Social solidarity isn’t a one-way street.