The article presents preliminary results of a research based on in-depth interviews with young Milanese adults with Italian and migrant backgrounds who are experiencing the school-to-work transition in the years following the 2008 crisis. The author compares accounts of previous paths and future aspirations for young women and men, with low and high cultural capital. Emerging models of adulthood converge for female and male young university graduates, who are building flexible life trajectories and careers. Models of adulthood differ for less educated young men and women. The girls feel inadequate for a job market in which they feel unfit, in spite of their aspirations. This leads to an inability to project into the future beyond aspiring to have their own family. This aspiration is moreover described as distant and at present unfeasible. Instead, young men give an account based on a long-established model of adulthood, which they think will still be feasible for their lives, in spite of the present difficult economic conditions.
Keywords: Youth, crisis, aspirations, models of adulthood, cultural capital, Milan