Ramblings in Quarantine - Maggie Schipper
Moving on and getting over
Coming back from my semester abroad I had the feeling that I was fleeing from the virus already. From Korea, to Japan, Vietnam and lastly Bangkok. When we boarded the plane home people started getting nervous and more and more news about this odd virus started popping up. Landing in Amsterdam was anticlimactic and very exciting. There was no border patrol checking my temperature or my luggage stuffed with odd souvenirs. But my family was there to welcome me home after six long months with hugs and peanut butter sandwiches. That first day back at the Citadel was just as I imagine Daphne living most days: so many hugs. It took me a while to be my old self again among new faces. Adjusting back to bread instead of rice, housemates instead of roommates, weight lifting instead of badminton, black coffee instead of boba.
Even though there were a few bumps along that road, it was an enjoyable process. Having the opportunity to appreciate, what had been taken for granted previously. But that new normal didn’t last very long. Soon it felt like I was in an assisted living facility with my housemates. One person keeping order and reason (not me) and the other five shaving heads like Chris, gaming competitively like Pim, cooking like Artos, playing darts like Wout and composing house ballads like Daphne in the shower.
Even this new normal didn’t last very long. While in Korea I had time to reflect but also to look ahead. Which made me wonder about the inevitable. What comes after ATLAS? For me it has been this thing breathing in my neck since the day I got here. I wanted to leave ATLAS with my next steps planned, moving up and forwards, challenging myself and avoid getting in a rut. After selecting three carefully curated concoctions of buzzwords which entailed master programs, I realised that it wasn’t for me. For most bachelor graduates it is the most sensible route: bachelor, master, job. I don’t want that, I wanted to make a gamble that I reach my idea of successful without another paper telling employers I can cram and meet deadlines. I successfully applied for a job instead. For which I had to move to Amsterdam. Secretly, that always has been a dream of mine. It’s a city where romance and business collide. There are so many dreamers and chasers here, people that sing and dance their hearts out on countless stages and people that are part of the Zuid-As ant colonies climbing ladders. This is also meant another change of my normal. Moving in the middle of the semester and a global pandemic, to a new city and towards a different life. Slowly but surely my wardrobe is filling with suits, dresses and heels to prepare for my first day as an actual adult.
Quickly and painfully I feel my time in this community coming to an end. I’m grieved that there was no chance to say goodbye and express gratitude to the people I care about. To enjoy that last day at the citadel mindfully. Even though graduation is still bound to happen, looking back at Enschede I am already wearing the sepia coloured glasses of nostalgia. The next time I will be there will be as a graduate and from there on out as an alumnus. My bond with this place will start to transition from being in my present to being in my past. As John says, I’m keeping the door cracked open but I am moving on. To the newest normal.
I pass the Quarantine Quill to Melissa.