My greatest fears are ...

Mes plus grandes craintes sont ...

about the future.

being alone and not being financially stable.

being alone, not in the physical sense of being by myself, but in the sense of feeling that there is no one I could turn to for company, help, solace, love...

being forgotten, not being recognized for my work, being sad

failing my classes, never discovering what I really want to do with my life, not being able to meet the expectations that others have for me

failing this class.

failure and regret.
disappointment, inadequacy, asking for help

failure and tight space

failure, rejection, bees


being buried alive.

for my family and their future

frustration and not getting what I work for.

global thermonuclear warfare

heights, drowning, spiders

not being at peace, losing my inner child.

not being successful, being alone, being sick

scary movies, risky parts of town, and illnesses.

that I will have to leave the U.S. because of the ideological wars and the idiotic Republicans.

That I will not be the best that I can be due to reasons that make no sense whatsoever.

that I won't get a job after I graduate or get into graduate school.

that the planet is heating up rapidly!

that the United States will forsake the civil liberties established in the U.S. Constitution and give in to the ultraconservative voices in American politics.

the dark, loneliness and failure.

the well-being of my family

to achieve nothing of value for posterity.

to be average or complacent.

to not be happy with the path that I have chosen.

to not do well in College.

war, death, terminal illness.

D'avoir un accident et d'être paralysé à vie

de ne pas avoir une bonne situation plus tard dans mon travail ou une mauvaise vie de famille

de ne pas être heureuse dans ma vie sur tous les domaines

de ne pas réaliser tous mes projets au cours de ma vie
de me séparer des gens que j'aime

de ne pas réussir mes études, et de ne pas trouver de travail qui me plait, et être séparée de ma famille.

de ne pas réussir mon DUT, de ne pas trouver un emploi qui me correspond après ma formation

de ne pas savoir profiter des opportunités qui me seront proposées

de ne pas trouver un emploi qui me plait, de ne pas trouver le bonheur dans ma vie.

de ne pas trouver un travail qui me plaise vraiment, d'être séparé de ma famille.

de perdre confiance en moi.

de perdre les gens que j'aime, la guerre, et ne pas réussir mes études.

de perdre mon frère et ma grand-mère, mourir.

l'aggravation de la crise financière, le chômage et la guerre.

l'avenir, la fin du monde! ,

l'échec dans les études et la vie professionnelle, ne pas rencontrer l'amour véritable, ne pas avoir d'enfants, m'éloigner de Dieu

La guerre, le réchauffement climatique, La Corée du nord et l'Iran, le 21 Décembre 2012 ...

la hauteur (vertige),
de ne pas réussir dans l'avenir, et de deéevoir mes proches, ma famille .

la mort et la déception

la solitude et la pauvreté

le capitalisme et l'échec.

le terrorisme

les crash d'avion à répétition actuellement

ne pas réussir la fin de mes études.

ne pas réussir ma vie professionnelle et sentimentale


Dans les réponses américaines sur nos plus grandes craintes, les mots "failure" et "failing" apparaissent souvent. Les Français, ont, eux, peur de ne pas trouver un emploi, un travail qui leur plaisent et qui correspond à leur niveau d'études. Le mot échec se refère t-il à l'échec dans la vie professionnelle ? Avez-vous peur ou non de ne pas trouver un travail plus tard ? A quoi pensez-vous quand vous écrivez "failure" ?

Dorine,I agree that "failure" is a very ambiguous term but most Americans are indeed afraid of failing in general whether it be jobs, sports, dating, games, etc. Most Americans are so pressured to be successful or to "make something of themselves" that failure seems like the most hedious thing in the world.

I was also very touched to see how many French student put losing someone they love or a family member. It was very surprising to see that not a single American student wrote that. I was personally appalled that I didn't think of it! Why is it that Americans are so obsessed with helping out developing nations, volunteering and community service, yet they never bother to ask a gloomy classmate what's wrong, or find time in their busy schedules to go visit their relatives they haven't seen in a while? Family obviously plays a big part in the french culture. Do you also think that the French are more socially aware of their immediate environment?

Failure is an ambiguous term, but so is the fear.  I think the fear of failure in general, rather than a fear or failing a specific task, is a real phenomenon here in the U.S.  From a young age, the notion of failing at something is terrifying.  Most students here at MIT will have never failed a class in their life, and are maybe very accustomed to success in general.  Therefore, the idea that we may fail at something is often seen as catastrophic rather than a learning experience.

I thought it was interesting that many American students chose to write about fears like spiders, bees, heights, movies, bad neighborhoods, etc. while very few French responses included such thoughts.  I wonder if these really are our "greatest" fears ...

Furthermore, only one person, a French student, directly mentioned the financial crisis, or "la crise financiere."  How has the crisis affected life in France?  I found it interesting that no one mentioned it directly, but many people mentioned "finding a job."

The most common responses in both countries were failure, lack of success, and a fear of being alone or losing loved ones.  I think in this way fear is a universal emotion among humans.  Americans also mentioned words like "heights", "bees", and "drowning".  Is there another word in French for this kind of fear?

It was interesting to me that French students talked much more about war and terrorism.  I grew up in New York and people used to ask me if I was afraid of further terrorist attacks and I always said no.  Is there a prevelant fear in France of terrorist attacks?  If so, is it based on data that says France may be a target or is it from being closer to nations with powerful terrorist organizations?

Hallie, je ne sais pas si les Français prêtent plus attention à leur environnement proche, aux gens qui les entoure que les Américains. Personnellement ma famille est importante pour moi, je pense que les autres penseront la même chose. Mais si vous n'avez pas parlé de vos familles c'est peut-être, comme le dit Jeffrey que vos réponses ne sont pas vos plus grandes craintes, mais plutôt de simples peurs ? Mais je comprend ta déception en voyant que vous n'aviez pas parlé de perdre des membres de votre famille, j'ai été un peu surprise aussi !

En ce concerne la crise financière, elle a affecté les Français, qui consomment  moins, les crédits sont plus difficilement accordés aux particuliers ou aux PME ... Nous avons beaucoup mentioné la crainte de ne pas trouver de travail après nos études, les entreprises sont parfois réticentes à embaucher des jeunes, préfèrent des gens un peu plus agés avec plus d'expérience. Les jeunes sont particulièrement touchés par le chômage en France. Est-ce que les jeunes aux Etats-Unis sont concernés par le chômage de la même manière qu'en France ?

I thought this was a very interesting question to ask, especially to examine whether culture, nationality, environment plays a large role in what someone truly fears. I was also very surprised by some of the responses. I thought that many of the American responses where limited to the view of only the person writing, almost egocentric (for lack of a better word of what I'm trying to convey). I thought the French did a much better job of incorporating others into their fears. Not to say that these were better responses but they were just different.

When responding, it didn't cross my mind to mention the financial crisis. I know that its affected a lot of people around the globe yet it still isn't at the forefront of my mind. I feel that American youth are less informed than they should be about current events and I also think that it is very easy to get trapped in the "MIT bubble" where the only information that is relevant is that involving the Institute. Did anyone else feel this way?

Just based on some of the discussion going on I wonder whether the reason that deeper fears such as losing loved ones were more prevalent because France is in Europe, which is kind of near a lot of instability whereas the US seems like oceans away from any real danger.

This was a very interesting discussion question.   I definitely agree with Jeffrey, I think one of the reasons that failure appeared so frequently on the American's list is because we are all MIT students.  The expectations of us are very, very high and often these expectations are self-inflicted, which is probably why failure is one of our biggest fears. 

To Dorine: I think unemployment is definitely a major concern of ours, especially lately with the recent economic crisis.  Students at MIT are graduating without jobs to support them and that's becoming more and more of a reality.

Something that I found really interesting was that a fear of terriosm only appeared on the French list.  I think that surprised me a little because of 9/11 and other terrorist threats that are constantly discussed in the American media.  Is terrorism in France becoming a greater threat? Or is some of the fear due to terrorism around the globe?

I noticed that the fears that the American students seem to have are complex, the greatest of them being failure and loneliness. I wonder if this is because these are the fears of MIT students? I feel that the students of MIT are used to excelling at academics and extracurriculars, they have done so for almost all of their lives. In such a case, failing at anything at all could be very frightening to them. At the same time, because MIT students work so hard to avoid failure, they might ofen isolate themselves from their friends and stop having a social life. This is something that every young adult is fearful of, but this fear is more pronounced in MIT students because it is more likely to happen to them than to others.

The fears of the French students, on the other hand, seem to be not only simple but also specific. They mention the fear of 'not getting a job' and 'unemployment'. I was surprised by this, is it really that hard for college graduates to get a job in France?

It was also touching that, while the Americans hardly mentioned their families at all, several French students mentioned the fear of 'being separated from their families'. Is it a big step for students in France to leave their parents' home and start a new life on their own?

It is interesting to me how many of the French decriptions were centered around global phenomena - be they environmental or political.  Mention was made of North Korea, Iran, Global Warming, capitalism, financial crises, and terrorism.  On the American side however, the fears manifested themselves primarily on the personal, psychological level.  Why do you think this might be the case? 

How intrinsic to French culture is global politics, and how does this manifest itself? 

Bonsoir à tous !

Jessica :

Personnellement ( mais je ne pense pas être le seul ), je ne me sens pas très concerné par le Terrorisme. Ceci étant, il apparait sur la liste, c'est indéniable qu'il y a du terrorisme à travers le monde mais je pense que la France est relativement épargnée; cette crainte résulte du fait que les médias exagèrent toujours la vérité jusqu'à ce que ça ne soit plus vraiment la vérité.

Natasha :


Avec la crise économique récente, les médias n'ont fait que passer des faits de chômage qui s'aggravent, des images de salariés qui ont été licenciés et qui se retrouvent sans emploi du jour au lendemain.

Peut être que trouver un travail n'est pas si difficile ( enfin il l'est dans une certaine manière, de toute façon ) mais la perception de la crise provoque une peur instinctive de ne pas trouver et d'être exclu de la société.


Khalea :

Comme le disait Dorine dans un autre sujet, le parti écologique a obtenu la seconde place aux éléctions des députés européens. L'Europe entière est donc impliquée dans cette question du Réchauffement Climatique et du Développement Durable.

En ce qui concerne le capitalisme, c'est encore dû à la crise que vous venons d'essuyer...



Jeffrey, pour répondre à ta question concernant la crise financière je peux te dire que les français ont été très touchés par la crise et particulièrement au niveau des emplois. En effet, beaucoup de postes de travail ont été supprimé, notamment dans les secteurs automobiles et industriels. Ils y a eu de ce fait des manifestations contre les suppressions de postes. Mais la crise a également changé les comportements des personnes: les gens ont davantage fait attention à leur dépenses, ils se "privaient" plus (moins de dépenses inutiles, pas de vacances...)

J'espère avoir bien répondu à ta question! En ce qui me concerne, j'aimerais savoir si la crise aux Etats-Unis a fait changer le comportement des personnes comme en France?

salut, des deux cotés j'ai vu mentionné la peur de mourir,la guerre, la vie...mais je m'étonne qu'une seule personne ait parlé de Dieu du coté français,pourtant c'est lui qu tient les rennes de tout sa non? Dieu a-t-il si peut d'importance pour les jeunes que nous sommes?aux Etas-unis la devise se ramène à Dieu non?et les sermons des président aussi..alors quel place français et américains donnent à la réligion?chez nous au Gabon et je cros aussi aussi en Afrique,la réligion  a une grande place...

I strongly agree with Macdalaine and Natasha about why most of the americans responses were related to failure and work.  I think that the US is such a competitive country, pretty much in every aspect, that people feel pressured to be good at everything, and even more by being at MIT.  A lot is expected from us, and that's why most people are work-oriented, and definitely the MIT bubble influences the apparent priorities of our lives. 

one thing that I don't quite understand is why the american responses were so individualistic.  Almost anybody thought about anybody else but themselves.  Only a few people talked about their families, but it wasn't the majority.  However, on the French side, family is obviously regarded as one of the most important things in life.

I think these questions are having a good effect on all of us, since they're making us think about things we probably took for granted and see more clearly what do we want our priorities in life to be.

Reading Daniella's response made me think that one of the biggest criticism about the American way of life is that no one lives in the moment. Everyone works incredibly hard for some goal way off in the future and usually doesn't take the moment to appreciate the day to day. I think thats where thinking about others and family would come into play and because our society doesn't encourage this way of life, our fears were very egocentric. Just a thought....