Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
Alumni About alumni
Header image UG Alumni Blog

It’s been two years

Date:21 February 2022
Author:Regina Ikramova
Regina Ikramova, Russian Federation and Central Asia, Honours Bachelor in International Relations and International Organization (IRIO)
Regina Ikramova, Russian Federation and Central Asia, Honours Bachelor in International Relations and International Organization (IRIO)

It’s been two years (*insert the woman from Titanic meme here*) 

The most nerve wrecking, tumultuous, and boring two years of my life. Some say Omicron marks the end of our marathon towards the fata morgana called “normalcy”. Some say Omicron was just the Superbowl halftime show. A bad one, with a celebrity performer we all canceled.

I was asked to encapsulate the spirit of the time, once again. In an uplifting manner, so was their hope. But the truth is that I am suffering from “pandemic fatigue”. Yes, I diagnosed myself. And yes, self-proclaimed therapists on TikTok – the universe of “the blind leading the blind” – might have had something to do with it.

Don’t get me wrong. I have little reason to complain. My loved ones are healthy, my Amazon supply chains are intact, and I am still naïve enough to make plans. Privilege at its finest. But urrgh, I miss the pre-pandemic version of myself. The one that had social obligations, dreams, and no signs of grey hair. Today I reread my diary to revisit my genius. The words and described experiences felt foreign to me. Testaments of a somewhat delusional, moderately narcissistic, but above all lavender and linen loving young girl with great ambitions and bad taste in men. I put that Netflix-deal-worthy sci-fi masterpiece aside and swore to myself to never look back.

Where do we go from here? The limbo dance between the somewhat normal ways of living life and periods of lockdown is not easy to perform with our desk-job-deformed spines. Are we stuck in the loop? It sure as hell feels like it. The world is changing, and so do the lives of young people. You are either a twenty-something bitcoin millionaire with at least three hundred thousand followers on Instagram and dangerously white teeth, or a 21st Century version of a nihilist (aka a capitalist on commercial break). Dating, debating, and graduating – everything is happening online. Moments of joy are limited, and it becomes increasingly easy to hold a grudge against the universe. We write applications like maniacs, find ourselves in a never-ending process of recalibrating our hopes and expectations, are miles away from a mortgage, and light-years away from having kids. Most of us won’t find the love of their life during our study years, are stuck in situationships, and will never learn how to properly cook. We tell ourselves that the times are different, that we shouldn’t pressure ourselves to replicate our parents’ paths, but nonetheless feel demoralized by our inability to reach certain milestones at specific times. Sapped of energy by repeated cancellations of plans and opportunities, we stoically navigate our lives in this beta version of metaverse called reality. We declare war on gender norms, certain phrases, and cringy zoom-backgrounds. We get our booster-shots and go on mental-health walks. We alter the metrics of success and happiness, make peace with our bodies, and think twice before making out with the hottie we meet at the Covid-appropriate party. 

The alumni blog’s aim is to inspire young people and maybe even give some guidance, but I find it difficult (and cringe) to motivate anyone to follow the “Ten Steps Guide on How to Succeed During a Global Event That You Basically Have No Control Over”. So instead, I shall attempt to give you a brief pep talk.

First things first, stop taking anything that is going on right now personally. People are annoyed, resources scarce, and any form of rejection coming your way is a means to an end. It opens up possibilities you haven’t considered before. It may even be a blessing in disguise.

No, you don’t have to be good at your new pandemic-induced hobbies. As long as they keep you sane, distracted, or even happy, you are already succeeding. (At least this is how I justify my disgraceful artwork).

Yes, you are allowed to feel exhausted by the simple act of *existing*. Especially when everything seems out of your control.

Oh, absolutely! It is absolutely okay to question every decision you made since the age of 9. There is a 90% percent chance (don’t ask me for my source) things are not going to go according to plan once you graduate. The warm embrace of the job market is not guaranteed. It might even feel like a kick in the gut, at first.

Don’t you dare to log into LinkedIn when having a bad day. It is a platform we employ to display the sunny side of career-life. It sometimes tends to discourage rather than motivate. Take some time to process, reassess, and strategize.

This time I will restrain from giving you further unsolicited advice, and simply tell you that you are doing just fine. I also won’t tell you to burn some allegedly energy-cleansing sage (if Covid wasn’t able to give you a cough, burning sage will), to watch the documentary “Human”, or to apply sunscreen before leaving the house on that one day of the week. Life tosses challenges at you like a tennis ball launcher and you accept them like a vaccinated tennis champ. However small your successes might seem to you, don’t forget to celebrate yourself – with every fibre of your being. And if you don’t do it, I will.

In the filial duty of your social fairy godmother,


About the author

Regina Ikramova
Regina Ikramova
Regina Ikramova has graduated from the University of Groningen with an Honours Degree in International Relations and International Organization. She was born in Kyrgyzstan and is the university’s international alumni ambassador for the Russian Federation and Central Asia. In the rare moments when she is not complaining about politics, gender-inequality, or bad weather, she loves to: write, eat avocados, and – as every single person out there – give other people relationship advice.

Link: /alumni/about-alumni/ambassadors/2020-2021/2020_bio_regina_ikramova