CBSSX 2020: Eat. Read. Sleep. Repeat. – Coping with COVID-19

CBSSX 2020: Eat. Read. Sleep. Repeat. – Coping with COVID-19

29 mei 2020

The professorship Communication, Behaviour & the Sustainable Society together with the Digital Society Hub and EnTranCe challenged 15 Communicatie and 15 International Communication students to work on graduation assignments connected to sustainability, energy and digital communication, in an innovative living-lab experimental set-up called CBSSX 2020. This is the follow-up to the 2019 CBSS Graduation Experiment. The students wrote about their experiences with research, product creation and corona in CBSSX.

We will update their stories everyday. You can find an overview here.

Eat. Read. Sleep. Repeat. – Coping with COVID-19

First of all, let’s start with a quick refresh on what I am doing for my graduation. My client is Ron de Vrieze at EnTranCe, who is looking to promote a new, sustainable and durable way of building in the shipyard industry in Germany. For this, I am doing extensive research to come up with a communication product that raises awareness and creates a contact opportunity between organizations in Germany and my client.

COVID-19 update. That is what springs up in my mailbox every week like clockwork. That is what my Instagram feed consists of. That is what we hear the prime minister talk about at least once a week. New restrictions, loosened restrictions, full lock-down, all seems to be going crazy, and changing. For me, this means being busy with my graduation at home, in the same room, at the same table, on the same chair, every day.

Motivation is hard to find, as every day just flows and merges with the next one, creating a continuous loop of more of the same. How does a person cope with that? On top, trying to do field research in a very specific industry, the shipyard industry in Germany, is incredibly hard. As they are struggling to cope with the coronavirus situation themselves, it is no surprise they do not see an itty bitty grad student’s survey as important; I do not believe anyone can blame them for that.

Now, about 11 weeks into graduation, I find myself finally with enough respondents to (hopefully) finish my research phase and continue to the design of my product. Which will be an online product, which only seems fitting in this situation. Okay, enough with the irony and negative attitudes, none of us chose for these circumstances, but we have to make the best of them.

Speaking about making the best of it, I need to give a huge shout-out to the Hanze UAS for the way they are handling these unforeseen and extreme circumstances. In the CBSSX Experiment, all the teachers have shifted swiftly to giving their classes online, and offering us (the students) as much help and support as possible. I must say, most teachers already were fast in answering their emails, but now the waiting period has dropped even more. All of them are willing to put in the extra effort to give the students what is necessary to continue their work.

Hanze UAS keeps us updated on the developments about the virus like clockwork, and to see their transparency and honesty about the situation is motivating. There are hours scheduled every week where students can talk about their motivation issues, struggles they are having, anything they want to share. This, to me, is what a community should be like. Receiving the support that I have been receiving has been the drive to keep going. So that is what I will continue doing. Online project defence, here I come!

Jildou de Boer, International Communication