It is a political custom to ignore or increase the stumbling blocks of millennials. Corona does not change this.
I have recently come across poignant articles about corona-related problems among young people. It is a great relief to read about loneliness, anxiety, and depression complaints, or the cramped financial situation of starters. That differs from the recent reporting on young people, party buses, illegal rave parties, fireworks attacks, student associations, and other types of rule negatives. And of course of the middle-aged columnists who often stereotypically dismiss young people as TikTok-swiping, avocado-on-toast-adoring Starbucks slurpers, and ML hungry (and runewords d2) gamers.
It does not surprise me that there are regular writings about problems that play a role among young people, especially in corona time. It does surprise me that politicians still overlook the workers of the future. It is a political practice to ignore or increase stumbling blocks for millennials. Corona does not seem to herald an end to this pattern.
For years, there have been strong signs of problematic levels of sadness, stress, and fatigue among students. However, empathy was lacking in politics, the thumbscrews were tightened with the introduction of the loan system. Many politicians compared this system to the purchase of a car, ‘it is an investment in yourself’. I was part of the first generation of loan system students at the time, and I can tell you it turned out to be an incredibly expensive car. But unfortunately, it was not possible to step up: the promised educational investments failed to materialize.
The young people who experienced the shock waves of the economic crisis up close in the classroom – school trips, teaching materials, activities, were immediately after their final exams regarded as piggy banks of the government. Supposedly because investment in education was essential, but tangible problems such as the dire room shortage and the psychological state of students were subsequently not worthy of attention.
The pandemic has exacerbated existing problems among young people. Mental health is getting worse, there is more financial uncertainty (just look for a lockdown side job) and their future prospects are even direr. A second economic crisis may soon set in – who sends us a notification?
In addition to exacerbating existing problems, the coronavirus has forced young people to make a new sacrifice: social contacts. We hear too little about the students who lock themselves up in their dorm rooms, or who avoid their parents at home because of the risk of infection. The focus is on conflict: the rule-breakers, not the lonely young hermits.
Without exception, politicians have looked away from the problematic situation of young people and – where it got away with it – pushed through legislation that will make the lives of future generations more difficult (and more expensive). The Hague also looks away during corona: there are no national initiatives to improve the situation of young people at all.