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DW: Young and Frustrated – the pandemic and young people – their hopes, dreams and fears


June 02,2021

They are raring to go. At their age, they can’t wait to fulfill their goals – whether that’s finishing high school, attending university or pursuing an apprenticeship. Instead, many young people are facing frustration full on. Karl, for instance, had already packed his bags. The 17-year-old from northeastern Germany was looking forward to spending a year abroad at a high school in Canada. But just a few days before his departure, the trip was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now instead of making new friends and going skiing in the Rocky Mountains, he’s doing his lessons from home. He’s trying to make the best out of a bad situation by studying hard to get good grades and motivating himself to exercise, all while hoping that both school and the soccer pitch reopen soon.

Meanwhile in Leipzig, a medical student named Friederike is in her fourth semester. In her first year at university, she was able to explore the eastern German city, throw parties with her flatmates and study together with other students. Then came the pandemic. Now she is living by herself in a small apartment on the outskirts of the city and spends most of her time at the computer. The young woman always knew pursuing medicine would mean many long and hard hours studying. But she never could have imagined that her life would be an endless cycle of only studying, eating and sleeping for months on end. No trips to the cinema or bars or to visit her boyfriend in Bavaria. Her savior is her dog, Freya, whom she got from an animal shelter. Taking care of Freya means Friederike must go outside several times a day. It’s also how she first met and connected with some fellow dog owners.

And then there is Alena. The 19-year-old and her fellow trainees work at Bokel-Mühle Hotel, a family business nearby Hamburg. She had long dreamed of doing such an apprenticeship in the hotel and catering industry, but the pandemic derailed all her plans. Suddenly, everything came to a standstill. No more guest bookings meant no more exciting work. Alena loves interacting with people, but now she is making beds that no one sleeps in and sets tables where no one eats.

The film follows Alena, Karl and Friederike as they go about their daily lives. It tells of their hopes, dreams and fears – and shows what keeps them going despite the challenges.

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