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21 september 2021

Two Forty

It's two forty in the morning as I write this. I just finished an hour-long interview for a course and it's too late to sleep now anyway. I have a lecture at nine, two assignments due at noon and three USR meetings to attend in-between. It's only Wednesday and my calendar for tomorrow and Friday look similar. Has it really been only two weeks? Doesn't feel like it.

I'm burned-out with no time to cool down, there's no gaps in between activities and now the breaks within lectures are bound to disappear as well (not if I can stop it). I put on my headphones and play some music as to not lose my mind, as I check my Messenger I realise I'm not alone, some other international classmates are online too and when we talk it's about a story all too familiar:

We're all first-gen migrants with too much on our plate, doing all in our power to make it here, holding on to every chance we get in order to be more to employers than interesting passports and exotic last names. We're also failing miserably at it. Most of us have struggled a couple years in the job market, getting nothing but silence out of thousands of solicitudes and, when lucky, an interview where they tell you: we're looking for someone with a more Dutch background, but I did go to Mexico some time ago, lovely place! Like I care.

So here we are, overworked and in silence in order to not make our migratory status any harder

We're so used to fighting against rejections that we throw our bets on any job opening and any council, and to the most demanding of programmes at prestigious Universities in order to improve our credentials that when we finally get more than one opportunity. We're afraid to pick between them and we say yes to all just in case they one of them decides to go with someone else. So here we are, overworked and in silence in order to not make our migratory status any harder, hoping when all of this is over we can just blend in and our resumes don't stand out for the "wrong" reasons. 'Be thankful that you're here or go back home, we don't need you', I remember someone tweeting at me. I am thankful, it's just hard.

Of course that's not sustainable, the thing with having four jobs at the same time is that you end up slacking in everything, including your social life in order to put some bread on the table; you hope that your degree ends up getting you a job that can actually pay rent so you don't keep getting indebted to survive. But we manage, or at least that's what I tell myself as I upload the interview to Canvas and wonder whether I should sleep on the couch to not wake up my wife: it's hell, but only for one more year, you can do this. More gezellig times are coming.

I hope that I'm right. That we all are. And that soon we can have a good night's sleep.

Emiliano Vargas Campuzano

General Council Member
e.vargascampuzano.usr@vu.nl

Emiliano Vargas Campuzano

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