By Justin Kist
Now is not the time to rest your weary head. As we are kilometers apart, ranging from a few to some thousands, life continues. The world turns and so does UCR. Assignments, exams, and projects still exist. In a different set-up, yes, but it still continues. Like UCR always seems to do. You’re busy, everyone around you is busy, and that’s how it is.
With the end of the semester nearing soon, the boards for next year are being formed as well. This rarely goes smoothly, for a paved path is one that you rarely find. Often, boards need to inquire about who’s interested, offer positions and interest potential candidates.
Naturally, this works better when we are in Middelburg. You know, when we see each other face to face. The fact that that doesn’t work will make the formation of new boards harder. Even with the Election GA only a day away at the time of writing, there is an open position in one of the big boards. But that will be alright. For smaller boards, those gracefully and enthusiastically acting under RASA’s care, this must be different. If we don’t keep an eye out for them, and candidate ourselves for them, social life at UCR might come to a standstill.
One of the great powers of UCR is its students. Studying in Middelburg has its advantages and disadvantages. Simply put, the disadvantage is that you study in Middelburg. On the other hand, the advantage is that you study in Middelburg. While the next stop of the civilized world in the Netherlands might be a long train ride away, the location and size of UCR make it close-knit. It is relatively small, cozy – and boring.
You might be inclined to agree to the latter. However, the effort the students put in their societies, teams and initiatives that result in the countless happenings and events mitigate this effect greatly. Perhaps you take it for granted that RASA’s calendar is full of at least something to do every day at UCR. It doesn’t matter that you sleep in or attend only specific events from certain societies. The opportunity is there and offers you chances to get out and live.
A wholly different situation when we compare it to ours now. While some societies have come to a standstill, others try to make the best of it. Most of the students have left Middelburg and even those who have remained on campus see the joy of social interactions hampered by a screen. Though assume that normal life resumes in some form or another, and we stand in front of the doors of our campuses, Eleanor or Elliott. Will your student life continue just the same?
With everyone at home most societies slumber into sleep. Yet while some might be awakened by the start of term, most remain asleep when no students shake those societies awake. Even societies that are active now see current board members leave, for they wish to focus on academics or wish to join a big board. A society cannot exist by itself; it needs to be accompanied by a board that pushes its interest forward and enable students who are interested in it to come together.
Seeking mutual interests is not possible when you’re just minding your own academics for the rest of the semester.
Taking care of something you like and enabling other students to join activities you think would be awesome is not going to happen if you’re passive.
Of course, you should be intrinsically motivated. You won’t keep up, nor have keep interest if you don’t like what you’re doing.
But what if you want to? What if you really like playing board games, or enjoy mathematics?
Then it begins with you. Run for a society, present your ideas and hop aboard. Most of it might not be easy, perhaps at times, you will be stressed. However, it will all be fine. A community is an empty shell without its members; and, to be honest, to see a society that does something that you like to slumber in inactivity next term would be painful, if not plain sad.
Think about what you want, take some time for yourself – but do look forward. UCR will still be there next year and you will too. We’re a community that exists of many different building blocks. You are one of them and you’re important. It is time to step forward.
Justin Kist, Class of 2021, is a Law, Sociology and Statistics major from Munstergeleen, the Netherlands.