About our need for resilience: why this project is about you


Article by Laura Morazzini | Illustration by Louseen Smith


“Creativity is born from anguish

just like the day is born from the dark night. […] He who overcomes crisis, overcomes himself, without getting overcome. He who blames his failure to a crisis neglects his own talent and is more interested in problems than in solutions.”

-A. Einstein


Once an amazing psychologist and good friend of mine told me that if she had to explain panic and anguish to a confused patient, she would probably represent them as big holes on a canvas. Lacerations, blank spaces, nonsenses. Panic and anguish are the void before and after the question mark, i.e. a search for meaning, for content. She added that the most effective strategies we possess to cope with these feelings are first, their validation, which is an acknowledgment of their presence and worth. Second, as absurd as it might sound, the willingness to patiently decorate the borders of these holes and incorporate the lacerations into the unique painting of one person’s life.

When I asked her what the ”sewing” stood for, she said they represented words and, in general, the stories we create for ourselves. The meanings we choose.

Let’s face it, we are a lucky generation: we didn’t experience any major war, we live in a world where social mobility and life expectancy increased, borders disappeared, and, overall, countries are relatively much richer than in previous generations. Nevertheless, we also live in a world where capitalism made sure that any form of predictability disappeared. The relieving – but also terrifying – freedom that this process unleashed provoked an important request for meaning in younger generations.

Born in the 1990s, we are witnessing three of the biggest global crises in recent history: one, the economic and financial crisis of 2008, is behind us. The next two, one economic and the other one climatic, lie ahead. As teenagers, back in 2008, we found ourselves in the attempt of understanding why some strangers in the USA managed to almost make our family go bankrupt.

Now, facing a global pandemic as adults, we do not need explanations and still, we feel another laceration on the canvas. Again, we find ourselves looking for meaning. We are desperately trying to figure out whether, in the next economic crisis, we will be the spectators or, as our parents before us, the protagonists. It is in this uncertain scenario that we need words. Words to understand ourselves and the world around us.

Not surprisingly, young adults working in the field of political science are being seriously affected by the new changes in the global landscape brought by the current pandemic. Always chasing international jobs and internships, we heavily rely on international mobility to meet our career goals. Currently, not only international borders seem uncrossable, but also the likelihood of a decently paid internship might be jeopardized by the possible economic difficulties that every country will, inevitably, experience.

Unpaid internships are already common for political science students and graduates, but while on the one hand they increase the employability of the candidates, on the other hand they inevitably open the door to economic discrimination, sharpening the inequalities already present in our societies. Accepting an unpaid internship requires access to significant economic resources and/or the availability of a reliable backup plan, with the possible unwanted consequence of an unfair overrepresentation of wealthy candidates in many institutions and businesses.

As a consequence, we constantly feel the need to make our CVs longer, to pay for another training program, to speak as many languages we can and, finally, to be whatever the HR department want us to be. This process can be extremely alienating and the increase in competitiveness, that international mobility created, exhausting.

Intercepting the need that many of us feel of keeping their CVs competitive and growing in the field, while listening to the frustration, anxieties and the disappointment of many colleagues, I created this project. Let’s take the old advice of my dear friend and start to sew around our loneliness and anxieties.

We should take Einstein’s ode to crises as the necessary wisdom we need to overcome what we perceive as an unfair punishment and transform it into the driving force of our personal improvement, because, as he said, ‘’without crisis all winds are only mild breezes’’.

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