Strange time. A 17-year-old girl is entering her first year of university. Ah “the first years”! They are hosted as far as possible, on the outskirts, in university annexes that are often unsanitary and cut off from the heart of the university itself. First steps before 7 p.m.: everyone is severely discouraged. There are many, many of you this year. You will not all stay here, and tell yourself that it will be more and more difficult, those and those who think they will not make it should give up right away… Think carefully! The student apprentices come out in clusters of a few. It’s night. Some already know, from this first evening, that they will not come back.
→ ANALYSIS. At the gates of university masters, students jostle
Don’t you think something is wrong? At least. On the contrary, these first years deserve the most attention, the most encouragement possible. We could have wished for a little warmth, a little bravery and more hospitable reception conditions. How lucky to be here to conduct studies. Tell yourself that if you hang in there, you will discover what to advance, what to surpass yourself, what to accomplish yourself. And that all learning is a sometimes explosive but wonderful mixture of loneliness, excitement, discouragement, success. But I’m not even sure these disillusioned young students expected anything else. And a few days later, two young publishing interns told me about their concerns about their professional future. At college, they say, we have been warned, it will be difficult. Accept what is offered to you. Don’t dream.
Our society has become hazy and discouraged. The institutions themselves no longer seem able to hold the framework of our communities. Are we still able to tell our children: one life can transform the world? Or that humanity is full of incredible possibilities? Without a doubt, something new can be invented outside of the framework. It is also a trait of this funny era. Many of us are bushy, tinkering outside the highways with our gloomy and icy decisions, marked paths that no longer lead anywhere. A friend told me that every bird must relearn to sing every year. This is what we no longer know how to do. Relearn to sing, to think, to hope.
We should have the nerve to turn it all around. Every year, ask universities and companies to relearn how to sing with new voices, new future talents. And especially not to imply that we are complete. Never. Today we are sadly haunted by concern and hatred of numbers. If it goes badly (and it goes badly very often unfortunately in society, in schools, in neighborhoods), it is not because of the number or the differences, but on the contrary of the partition, the ‘abandonment, loneliness.
→ TESTIMONIAL. The confinement undermines the morale of the students: “Once a week, I tell myself that I will let go of everything”
Instead, let’s try to put ourselves in a situation of always waiting for someone new. By accepting not to know exactly who or what head she or he will have. Let’s put in the skull of every apprentice, of every student, of every pupil that he is expected. But on condition that we reform our institutions so that they are primarily at the service of newcomers. Oh I hear people reproach me for my naivety. You do not see dark times, crises, violence … But to get out of this sum of misfortunes and difficulties (which we recount indefinitely ad nauseam), we have to change our position. No longer hold this dismal watch post for the rising tide, but go down into the arena to work on the reception the next day. And make each newcomer, personally, the messenger of a dawn.