She despises the anti-immigrant Golden Dawn party that roams her neighborhood.
Through all the turmoil, Athina still holds onto her dreams. She wants to work in fashion. She wants to backpack around Europe. She wants to visit America.
And she still manages to have fun with her friends in Athens — which she calls "a jungle" — by taking advantage of the beaches and free concerts and art exhibitions.
At a recent gallery event, Athina stood staring at a photograph of a demolition site. Spray-painted over it in red was one word: FUTURE.
LUCY NICHOLLS, 22
Lucy sits against a backdrop of rose-patterned wallpaper emblazoned with the word "Wish," the name of the fashion magazine that's her graduation project.
She's presenting it at a London show called RAW to launch Middlesex University fashion grads like herself, exuding a mixture of confidence and jitters.
The fashionista with artsy glasses and bright red hair has paid a Lithuanian company 2,000 pounds ($3,100) to print 500 copies of WISH, which she's planning to ship to customers.
She concedes her optimism verges on the "cocky."
But she also has a dose of realism: "I'm going to need money very soon. Luckily the magazine is going to bring in a tiny, weeny little bit ... But I'm going to need a job pretty soon, that's for sure."
A week later, disaster strikes: The printing company has gone bust and disappeared with her money.
Now she's broke and needs a job fast: "I realize because of this catastrophe with the magazine I need work now. I really, really need to be making money."
The setback doesn't keep her down for long: She's picked up some freelance photography work for a London PR agency that's helping her pay the bills. Meanwhile, she has revamped her resume to wade into her first real job hunt.
Lucy says her teachers didn't prepare her for life: "We don't get told anything about industry or the real world. We didn't ever get told about what jobs were really out there."
Half-English, half-French, Lucy comes from a rural town in Surrey, south of London. She says her father warned her about how hard life can be: "You have to be prepared to be living off beans."
Fluent in French, she says she could try Paris for a while — but things aren't much better there, and in any case she sees her future in the British capital.
"I've been told by everybody London is where it's at, London is where you've got to be."
RAFAEL GONZALEZ DEL CASTILLO, 24
Rafael — or Rafa as everyone calls him — is a budding architect in a nation that's gone through one of the worst building busts in modern times.
He loves his field. He loves Spain. But he fears his future lies abroad.
Like millions of other young Spaniards trapped in the nation's devastating economic spiral, he says he'll jump at any opportunity for rewarding work — be it in Sudan, Chile, Alaska or Mongolia.
He just presented his final project — a design for urban greenhouses and terraced farmland on the marshy banks of a river — at Madrid's Polytechnic University. If it's approved by a jury, he'll officially be an architect in October.
Then what? A stroll through the wasteland.
The construction industry was crushed by the implosion of a real estate bubble in 2008. It's ground zero of Spain's economic crisis, with more than 1 million jobs lost in that industry alone.
Rafa, however, keeps on dreaming.
An actor in the university drama troupe, he talks a mile a minute with charm and eloquence, gushing enthusiasm for his chosen profession. He loves his studies so much he'd do it all over again — despite the doom that hangs over the industry.
Rafa refuses to believe that after a five-year journey through one of Spain's most demanding schools, what awaits him is the edge of a cliff and a plunge into the dead-end jobs in bars or supermarkets that many of his fellow college grads are taking up to get by.