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Esa Kasmir: ‘Online video classes give me a reason to change out of my pajamas’

Esa Kasmir (21) is a third-year student in International Studies and is doing a minor in Philosophy. How does he cope with the present situation and how does he keep in touch with friends and family?

‘Right now I’m staying inside with my girlfriend. I have a lot more free time on my hands than I had before. I try to see ‘not being allowed to go outside’ as a challenge rather than a sanction. For starters, since we can't go to the hairdressers anymore, I let my girlfriend cut my hair. She didn't ruin it! Of course, there’s Netflix, which now - more than ever - is proving to be a great resource. I also spend a lot of time reading. And together with my girlfriend, we’re watching Bob Ross on YouTube and enjoy painting with him. Another hobby I now have time for is cooking. I regularly spend three hours in the kitchen, making all kinds of stuff.’ 

It’s nice to have online classes

‘The switch to online education came quite suddenly. I don’t think anyone was really ready for the physical education to be canceled. Nevertheless, the switch to online education went quite smoothly. It does, of course, vary from professor to professor and their respective technical abilities. But generally speaking, my experience has been quite positive. It’s nice to have online classes, as it provides some sort of structure to your day. And the fact that everyone can see me gives me a reason to change out of my pajamas.’

Staying focused

‘The most challenging part of online education is finding the motivation to stay focused for longer periods of time. Especially when I have one of my philosophy seminars (which takes three hours), I notice that quite often I find something to distract me from paying attention. To try to counteract this I try to put all possible distractions as far away from me as possible. This doesn’t always work though…’

Crises make clear what is important

‘Keeping in touch with friends is a lot different. Sure, I’d like to go to the bar with my friends, but rather than doing that, now I video call them to meet them for a beer. Couple that with online games, and it’s actually quite amusing! The same goes for my family. I video call them a lot. I’m in contact with them more than I was before the pandemic hit. I guess crises make very clear what is important and what isn’t.’ 

Esa's message

‘Don’t let the virus dominate your day to day life and don’t live in fear of contracting it everywhere you go. That is different though, from not taking this whole thing seriously; please do! Wash your hands and keep your distance. Be aware of the situation and the national measures but don’t freak out and get paranoid.’

Are a student and are you worried, or do you have other concerns? Please know we’re here for you! Read more about the Student Support Services.

The Humanities at Home series is the temporary replacement for Humans of Humanities. We will do a portrait of one of our researchers, staff members of students, every other week. What are they, and what do they do? You can find more portraits and information on this page.

Lieselotte van de Ven
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