Have you ever played this game?
Well if your answer is YES! Then this is a perfect metaphor to explain how it was to plan our BMM 1 (Especially, if you are like me, you have never figured out how to play it).
We started organising the meeting a few months ahead and had everything planned out. We would research all the countries that all of us could travel to and when we decided on a top three, all of us would research the travel and accommodation costs and choose one that has the most reasonable price. Little did we know that step number one would require a full-on factorial, mediation, and regression analysis to determine at least one country we can all travel to.
Within the next month, we asked ourselves if it is even possible for 8 people to travel and meet in this pandemic time. Are we being unreasonable, unrealistic, a lot of different questions popped up into our minds. We struggled with the idea of our meeting in person and how safe it was to do so while the world around us was collapsing.
This situation and many others in these past months have taught me to be even more flexible than I used to be. Some things cannot be planned in detail, some things will be unforeseeable and most things will be out of my control. This being the zeitgeist of the year 2020, we “planned” accordingly and decided on one thing: we would meet in Croatia, Split, all the other specific details we would figure out later because travel restrictions changed from day to day.
Vita and I were already in Croatia, Katja and Katarina just had to pop in from Slovenia, Bojana was uncertain if she was going to make it up until the last moment because she was unable to enter the country without a negative PCR test, Hector found a flight from Spain and sadly Martie and Deianara were unable to join us.
I remember my parents telling me the day before we meet, stay safe and don’t hug each other, but they don’t know about EFPSA hugs. Not hugging is not an option. The moment we all saw each other was unreal. I remember on our first night that we were sitting on our balcony and Vita was talking about our schedule and I could not believe that I am seeing her talk in person rather than a skype call, these people are real and they really exist in flesh and bone, they are not just a few thousand pixels on my screen.
The whole week was simply amazing, we had multiple discussions and worked through the whole day. Talking about the mandate so far, discussing, having new ideas, reading all the amazing ideas from the working community. We found a vintage cookie stand for Martie and Dea ( put a picture) so that they felt like they were with us in Split. We cooked, cleaned, celebrated my birthday, and got to know each other better on a personal level. Played the game “what was your first impression of me” and got some interesting answers 🙂 We explored the historical city of Trogir on our excursion day and had a really long lecture explaining to Hector why Croatians, Serbians, and Slovenians all understand each other when they talk in their own language.
The apartment we found on Airbnb was right next to the airport, so every 30 minutes or so a plane would fly by and it would be so loud that we would have to stop our conversation. After being annoyed by it for the first few times, we proposed to use these 70 seconds as an opportunity to breathe, calm down, and become aware of the moment we are currently present in ( typical psychology student move). What I realised was that I really do love to travel, and maybe back when I started taking part in EFPSA activities this was my main motivation. But this is no longer the case, and I am grateful that this weird year has led me to situations that I would have never experienced before.
I now know that I enjoy being a part of EFPSA because in a short period of time we all collectively take part in changing the future of EFPSA and if I may be so presumptuous to say even building the blocks for the future of psychology. We sometimes lose ourselves in our tasks and sub-tasks that we forget that we are an active part of one of the biggest student associations in the world.
I hope that we will get the chance to travel more and meet each other in person at different EFPSA events, but if not I am totally ok with it because even though it seems really weird to all of my friends I truly enjoy Zoom breakout room parties, at least I don’t have to think about my pants matching my shirt.
Author: Ana Kraljević
Master’s in Psychology at Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Zagreb