This week, I was doing an experiment in the lab when I heard something on the radio that caught my attention. They announced on the news that young people experience stress now that everything is open again after corona. There is an urge to compensate for the periods where there were almost no possibilities of going out. A need to go to parties again, to be social. Life gets busier again, and there is a fear of missing out on experiences.
Research by Reuters showed that young people are already indicating that they experience this stress, it was told on the news. How long have we been out of lockdown? I asked myself where this could go.
Looking at my own agenda, I was actually a little shocked as well. The next few weeks I have something planned almost every evening. Even the weekends are full again. Sometimes I even have to make a choice: where am I going? I concluded that I was actually very much looking forward to being everywhere again. I am really looking forward to those activities. It feels like a privilege that I have the opportunity now to go to so many fun things. I know I can get a lot of energy out of it.
But I also know that I need rest to perform well for my graduation project. The latter is definitely not something I want to neglect. I also know that if I don't get enough rest, I can't actually enjoy a night out or some other fun activity. Then I don't get any energy from it anymore. Furthermore, graduating and doing my jobs then will cost more and more energy as well. It is important that, when you reach a point like this, you really choose for yourself. You decide to skip an evening and go to bed on time. Or you just take a whole weekend off.
The downside is that you have to cancel your initial plan, but sometimes people have already counted on you. You send a text or call to say you will not come. ‘Come over and have one beer,' they often say. When you do get convinced to come for that one beer, you most likely end up staying at Stratumseind or wherever until late in the evening. And of course you didn’t stay for just one beer. You wonder yourself the next day: was it all worth it?
I specifically think of first and second year students who have been staying at home for the past year and a half. They are now dropped straight into student life: a whole arsenal of fun events is right in front of them. I hope that elderly students give a signal to junior students to dose and watch themselves. But all in all, we all need to watch out for all of each other a little bit. We all know that before covid, many young people fell because of performance pressure and issues. And that performance pressure is often also found in wanting to perform socially.