Quarantine blog (9): Sitting still

28 May 2020

Staying in, online lectures, social distancing. How do students deal with it? In this relay blog, Vox writers who study at Radboud write about their life in times of corona. Tjitse Ozinga, Political Sciences student, tries to teach himself how to slow down.

When the lockdown began, my mother and I were sitting at the table, complaining that live was still as busy as always. Maybe I am the typical hurried student. Everything can go faster, better, more social. I would not describe myself as stressed, but I am someone who wants to stay busy all the time.

In this respect, I am a lot like my mother. Exercising daily, meeting people, plan as many things as possible and run around all the time, we both do it. If I found that I had an hour of nothing, I would quickly plan something to do. Sometimes even that wasn’t enough, and then I would book a cheap trip every month, it did not matter where to, as long as I hadn’t been there yet.

‘The art of being idle isn’t for me, I always thought’

I never really dwelled on this – but that was part of it, of course. Still, I envied friends who do make the time to just do nothing, without a purpose, and actually enjoy it. The art of being idle isn’t for me, I always thought.

But because of the corona virus, everything is different. For me, it’s a set back, learning how to cope with the huge amount of time and not having an easy way to fill it. When it began, I was going through withdrawal, I exercised for hours every day, tried to teach myself how to play the piano, or to speak Spanish, etcetera. Anything to keep myself busy. But along the way, the sitting still became easier and easier.

My father is the opposite of my mother. ‘Being bored is to enjoy, just be happy that it is possible sometimes’. I realise that it is a privilege that I have the time to not worry about anything. Just think of the health care workers who work really hard, or people who are without work, students who have to quit their studies. I home me and other ‘all-doers’ learn that not everything has to be done, and it is allowed to do nothing. Even once we go back to our busy ‘normal’.

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