News - May 29, 2020

Blog: Muddling through

Geert van Zandbrink

The new normal is no fun at all. A crisis sounds much more exciting than it is. Luckily, blogger Geert van Zandbrink has enough time to count his blessings.

My alarm goes at eight thirty so I can be sitting down to my bowl of yoghurt and glass of orange juice at nine o’clock. On my way, I scoop the paper, off the doormat. There’s not much news in it besides a bit of support here and compensation there. I devote most of my attention to columnist Ilja Pfeijffer’s brilliant semantic choices and the Fokke & Sukke cartoon on the back page.

Swans and flowers
A cup of coffee in my hand, I switch to the Resource website, where the breaking news is about the number of cygnets in the Forum pond and a rare orchid on campus. It’s true, we shall have to keep on looking for the beautiful things in the world around us, hard as it may get. Because let’s face it, the new normal is no fun at all.

I’m dutifully following my courses, but the online lectures make it feel like some kind of summer course. Secretly, most of my social life has disappeared with the campus. My hopes that I would be able to sit the exams for period 6 evaporated when I read a Resource article in which Arthur Mol said practicals might resume on campus in the new academic year.

This is going to be a very long summer, and not in a good way

Long summer
This is going to be a very long summer, and not in a good way. Normally, I start longing for the summer vacation right from the start of period 6, but this time not much will change when we break up. The big wave of panic, in which the world stood to attention in survival mode, has passed. The pleasure of having more free time has waned. A crisis sounds exciting, but now it just means inactivity and tedium.

At the dinner table in my student house, with six talkative individuals, we’ve been increasingly quiet recently. After the meal, we make an effort to think up some evening entertainment, but now we’ve played all the board games, had all the conversations, and watched all the series.

We’ve played all the board games, had all the conversations, and watched all the series

Sitting it out
I do feel lucky to be living in a student house where there is always something going on. Following the growth of the basil in the garden, and counting the lockdown days on the living room wall are the daily rituals that suggest there is some change in the world. In the calm after the storm, it’s a question of muddling through until things get better. The only thing you can do is to try not to let it get you down.

Geert van Zandbrink studies Economics and Policy