What does the future hold for those without faith in it?


The only thing the young generation considers certain is the fact that nothing is certain.


According to the ‘Students’ City 2023’ study on higher education students in the Capital Region, faith in the future has decreased among students. The study reveals some alarming figures about students’ everyday life. Worries over how to get by financially are a reality to an increasing number of students. The increasing uncertainty in working life does not help students’ faith in the future, either.

Students study for the future. How can they be expected to maintain their study motivation without faith in the future? Nowadays, students’ mental health problems are as common as seasonal flu: nearly every other student has them. When considering solutions to improve mental health, we cannot focus only on solving existing problems. It is crucial to analyse the societal factors underlying the problems as well and try to find solutions to them.

Students’ daily life is overshadowed by constant uncertainty. Will I have enough money to buy food and medicine? Am I doing well enough in my studies? Will I manage to find a job? Over one third of the students in the Capital Region have had to refrain from buying food or medicine due to not having enough money.

Increasing the emphasis on loans in student aid has led to rising indebtedness among students. From 2010 to 2022, the average amount of student loan among students completing a master’s degree has risen from 6,700 euros to 22,600 euros. Getting into debt sets even more pressure on finding employment in the future. The situation is toughest for students graduating in fields with low income and uncertain employment. How will they manage to pay back their student loan if their future only holds low salaries or difficulties finding employment?

The answer is that many will not. If students cannot be sure of their ability to pay back their student loan, studying will be a realistic possibility to a decreasing number of people.  The problems can already be seen now, with a record-breaking increase in the number of student loans the state has had to pay back in 2023 due to students’ repayment difficulties.

The chances of the uncertainty overshadowing students during their studies ending after graduation look slim as well. The increased precarisation of working life, fixed-term and part-time contracts and having to work multiple jobs are already a reality for many. Making it easier to lay off employees and make consecutive fixed-term contracts would only further increase the uncertainty. Combined with the cuts to social security, undermining the status of employees in this way would place job applicants in a position where they have no alternatives. Being faced with no alternatives easily leads to despair.

The deterioration of employees’ status in the planned labour reforms would have the biggest impact on students who get employed in the public sector after graduation. The list of backward steps being proposed is a long one, and their combined effect would change the status of employees in a fundamental manner. The government’s policy of offering no alternatives reduces the freedom of choice for people in precarious positions. If the future only holds uncertainty tinged with necessity and the present is overshadowed by hunger, it is no wonder that students are feeling anxious.


Jonna Rajala

Member of the Board in charge of social policy


050 543 9615