Musing in times of corona

| Jurriaan Huskens

… there is a crisis. The virus changes the ways we work, live, socialize. Yet I am happy how people pick this up. All people act responsibly. They care of each other, and they make sure we get through this together. Surprisingly perhaps, you see these same attitudes arising all over the world, with common folks and leaders alike.

Photo by: Rikkert Harink

At some point, the strict regulations that have been installed to combat the virus are being lifted again gradually. That is good news. People can start picking up their lives again, and they get to see a perspective, a future, the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. One of the first rules to be relaxed has been the restriction on leisure activities for children. Fully in line with the vision of our national government on the equal importance of sports and culture, the national crisis team has decided to permit not only sports activities for teams of kids, but also individual music lessons and other cultural activities such as ensembles and ballet groups. Fortunately, all kids can go and pursue their beloved activities that help them grow and explore.

Also locally, our university has a crisis team. Of course, this crisis team is composed of members who are directly involved in the main missions of our university: education and research. It is therefore not surprising that they have from day one worked on a plan to get all of us back on track, regardless whether we are scientists working in a lab or students getting theoretical and experimental training in the program that we pursue.

Even though the crisis team is composed of very knowledgeable people, they have soon recognized that the largest brainpower is actually located outside their team. They have therefore not only indicated openly and publicly where the main difficulties and questions lie, but have even put out challenges to all of us scientists and students to come up with creative solutions to these problems. Therefore, we have felt responsible and taken seriously right from the start, and this has allowed us to come up with many creative and practical solutions in the shortest possible time. As a result, we have now been back at work under the most optimal and least bureaucratic conditions given the current circumstances. Likewise, also bachelor and master students are working on their final assignments that put the crown on their diplomas.

Therefore, I love my job, I am happy to do most of my work from home, safe, and contributing to other people’s safety. I can keep doing so in a relaxed manner without stress, and focus on what I am good at and what I love to do: contributing to science and helping the people around me in their pursuit of knowledge. Together we all make this happen! And occasionally I find the time to muse over all those other ways by which this crisis could have been handled. Somewhere, in a parallel universe…