‘You cannot buy love, happiness or even a meaningful conversation’

| Rense Kuipers

In this series, Through the Looking Glass, photographer Annabel Jeuring stops by at student houses to portray students in their current, isolated reality. This third episode, Thiemen Doppenberg, BSc student of Creative Technology.

Photo by: AJF

‘Since January I’ve been living in the Box on campus. It is clean, quiet and peaceful. My room has a view over the archery lane in the woods, which is beautiful no matter the time of year. The last eight months were a bit hard for me, because I ended up having a burn-out  ̶  which sadly occurs more often than you think in academic environments. This resulted in me taking one module off. Having this new room on campus gave me the chance to recover in calmness and in the meantime improve myself from the inside-out. It was perfectly timed. For years already, I do not believe in coincidences. I like to believe that everything happens for a reason.

Currently I’m in my third year of CreaTe and since Monday I’ve started taking classes again. I’m doing a minor in Persuasive Technology at Communication Sciences. I love the human part of it, using psychology to positively influence people’s behaviour. Because of the Corona crisis and the lockdown, the lectures are offered through Canvas Conference. It works really well and there is enough room for social interaction. We can use a live chat, answer polls and talk with our microphones.

I’ve been meticulously creating my own space here. It took some time and I used Google Sketchup to design the most ideal situation. My setup? I have multiple screens and a huge JBL music box, so I can just walk around and listen to lectures all day. At one side of the room I have an entertainment corner to relax and at the other side is the workstation to study. This layout is very functional. To add atmosphere, I added some led strips, a bright pink neon flamingo and multiple plants. Besides that, I have a nice bonsai tree named ‘Mr. Bonsai’, which I treat as a pet. They require some work.’

‘Even though it’s nice and quiet here, I did notice that I find social interaction is important. That’s part of the reason why I like my usual side job, being a taxi driver at Smartcab. It’s truly enjoyable to have conversations with the passengers, ranging from sweet old ladies to very drunk people. I bring them home safely through the dark night. Currently there is no work because of the lockdown. I try to stay in touch with others by calling or video calling. It’s about finding a balance between being busy and social, while also finding time for yourself. Yin and yang.’

‘If there is one thing I hope people take away from this crisis situation, it would be that everyone will find out what is truly important to them as a human-being. These last weeks, I’ve been in my room, all by myself. This led me to realize how materialistic things and money are way over-valued: You cannot buy love, happiness or even a meaningful conversation. I think the most important thing that someone can achieve, is finding inner peace. To love yourself for who you are. That’s a message I hope to share, especially in these times.’

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