‘Some students are terribly lonely’

Idealis caretaker Eugene van Meteren sometimes has to check why a student has dropped off the radar. It has happened that he is too late, but this time, he shows up at just the right time.
Tekst: Eugene van Meteren

Diary of a caretaker – Eugene van Meteren works for Idealis as a caretaker. He writes about his experiences for Resource.

Students are widely believed to stay up all night with their housemates and be actively involved in numerous committees and clubs. That might be true of many students, but there are also some who are not having such a great time at all. The coronavirus measures can have an impact on students’ state of mind too, I think. If you can’t go out, you can start feeling terribly lonely.

One Friday afternoon I got a call from a student dean. ‘Good afternoon, Eugene,’ she said, ‘I want to ask you to do something.’ She sounded worried. ‘Could you drop in on a student who lives at the Dijkgraaf? We haven’t heard from her for a while and we’re quite worried about her.’

 I knocked again, no answer. I broke into a cold sweat 

I hung up and an uneasy feeling came over me. It has happened in the past that a student who dropped off the radar had committed suicide. If we are concerned about a situation like this, we are supposed to go to the student’s room with someone else to find out what’s up. My colleague and I set off for the Dijkgraaf. We were both nervous about what we would find.

When we reached the room, I knocked. No answer. I knocked again, still no answer. I broke out in a cold sweat. I glanced at my colleague and got out the key to open the door. At that very moment I heard a noise from inside the room. The door opened to reveal a small Indonesian girl in her pyjamas, who obviously had a cold. Sleepily, she asked why we were there. I explained, and she understood our concern. She thanked us. ‘Nice to know I haven’t been forgotten. I will get in touch with my dean soon to report on how I’m doing.’ My colleague and I are glad we dropped by and had a chat. It was a way of giving the student the attention she needed, and that felt good.

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