Missing: The Lightness of Being

by Zoë Perry

It’s time again. Time to drop out of your everyday life, and have a little change in the routine. A break. For some that means celebrating Carnival – non-stop. To others it’s all about leaning back and finally watching the last season of their favorite series, skiing one last time before spring or just going home to see their family and get spoiled a little.


But besides that, it’s also a change of perspective. When I got off the train on Friday, for example, I found myself in a crazy situation. Walking past all these people coming at me from the opposite direction, while dragging along my trolley and at the same time trying to avoid being run over (yes, I am rather small), I felt like the main character in a Jump and Run game. I saw all these people, wearing their “get the hell out of my way” faces, bustling around, unaware of what was going on around them.

I couldn’t help but bursting out in laughter. I was so glad that at least that day I was not acting like this too. But wasn’t I, as a bachelor student, moving exactly towards this never-ending feeling of time pressure? My first semester had already passed so fast. Lately I caught myself way too frequently wondering about how soon I would be wearing my graduation gown, sighing deeply and saying sentences like “Damn, these three years went by so fast!”. Was this already a first symptom of the “tic-tock disease”? And if yes, what would be the best prevention strategy?

I guess there is no real prevention “strategy”. Because ironically, driving yourself crazy in order not to think about time pressure would imply that you constantly do think about time pressure.  Nevertheless, it’s possible to think about how you want to spend the time you have left after lectures and tutorials. Because you do have time. If we didn’t have any time at all, we would be unhappy, nervous wrecks. And if there is one thing about Maastricht University students that I can say for sure it’s that we are definitely not like that. Besides our sexual frustration (we know it’s not us) most of us are quite happy. So if we can conclude that we do have time, what is it that triggers this feeling? Maybe this feeling of time pressure is the result of an anxiety, the anxiety to at some point look back and feel like you didn’t really do what you wanted.

When you are on vacation, you sometimes start to do things again you actually always want to do. Maybe it’s even something simple, like going for a run. I, for example, love to make photos. I even have a good camera but how often did I walk around in Maastricht and use it? I can count the times on one hand. First thing I did in break was to take my camera back out and man, was it good to hear that clicking sound again when pressing the shutter. Even if days like this pass by so fast, I don’t look back sighing, because I enjoyed myself and I did what I wanted. So I guess the best way to arm yourself against time pressure is to stop thinking about what you could do and actually do it. Make everyday a quality day and tell time pressure get screwed.


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