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"I can't plan anything"

"I can't plan anything"

Photographer:Fotograaf:

During her work at the Friday market in September 2018/ Loraine Bodewes

(No) (Wo)man at work

(Wo)man at work. That was the name of a series about students and the jobs they do, published last academic year. How are they doing during the corona crisis? Can they do anything for their employers or have they been sent home? Aside from the students in the series, we will also hear from others. This time: Emmy Maas, master’s student of Medicine. Having returned from three months’ travel in Asia, she is now –“getting used to” – staying with her parents.

From Champignonhandel Jan Haagmans, where Observant followed her for part of one day back in September 2018, she had already said farewell months ago. Her job at the Friday market was no longer possible with her irregular schedule at the university. On the other hand, money doesn’t just come from nowhere. “After that, I worked at the hospital for a while, at the outpatients clinic of the Woman-Mother-Child centre, as an administrative assistant and as a doctor’s assistant.” She “liked” the work and used her salary to fill her piggy bank. Her objective was to travel around Asia for three months. With the internships in sight, she chose to take a break. “I thought: it is now or never.”
“I chose the February track at Medicine, which means that you start your internships in February instead of September. Also, because I could do my first internship at the end of the track, I didn’t need to start until April 20.

Christmas eve 2019 was when it started. Maas left and visited – sometimes alone, sometimes with a friend – countries such as Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. “When I left the Netherlands, there wasn’t even a whiff of a corona crisis.” The outbreak of the corona pandemic started in China, in January. “I didn’t notice much about it during my travels, except that I did see people walking around with face masks. We ourselves took proper precautionary measures too.”
She was able to “complete” her journey, “as planned”, but at the end it was just a bit intense. “I didn’t know if I could travel to the Netherlands from Bali." Her flight was cancelled twice. Fortunately, it worked out well in the end.

Since her return, Maas has been camping out at her parents’ house in Waalwijk. “I gave myself two weeks of quarantine.” But there is “nothing for her to do in Maastricht”; roommates and almost all friends have left. So she will stay in Brabant for a while. Maas regularly thinks to herself: ‘Why didn’t I stay in Bali for longer?’ I know staying wasn’t the responsible thing to do. Besides: the catering is closed; the beaches are closed. But the people that I became acquainted with there in a hostel, have hired a villa together. I am in regular contact with them. The contrast is huge: they are together and I am at home all day long.” 

What the faculty expects from her, she doesn’t know. “I was supposed to start either my Dermatology or Accident and Emergency internship (an observative internship) on 20 April, but I have no idea what will happen now. I am not assuming that it will happen. Maybe there will be online lessons instead.”
The uncertainty doesn’t make it any easier, she says. “I can’t plan anything. I want to help out here in the neighbourhood in a nursing home, voluntary work, but my availability depends on the UM’s programme.”
Voluntary work: a nice gesture, but it won’t pay the rent. She is not worried about finances at the moment. She has her student loan from DUO (Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs) and “my parents help out every now and then. But it is highly likely that I will be on the lookout for a new paying job soon, if there is anything out there to be found.”  

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