Merel Damstra

1. Who are you?

Hiii, my name is Merel, I’m 19 (almost 20) years old, I was born and raised in Groningen, and I moved to the city itself last October.

2. What do you do?

I study CIS like (probably) everyone in Commotie, I work at an Albert Heijn, and I’m a volunteer at a youth society and a yearly music festival (but for both I haven’t done anything in such a long time cause of corona).

3. Why are you a member of Commotie?

I decided very last minute to even join the CIS programme and was actually still waiting for a place in Psychology which I didn’t get because I messed up the test reallyyyy bad. Soo, on the last day I decided to finally accept this and join CIS and I thought then I might as well join the study association which has been the best decision I’ve made this year because I met soo many new people through Commotie and really enjoy all the online activities.

4. Are you an active member as well?

Yessss, I’m in the MediaCee, as the secretary. Both Vera and Chantal convinced me to become an active member and I’m so happy I did. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to meet up in such a long time now because of the lockdown.

5. How do you friends call you?

I guess just Merel, some friends call me Meer, Mary or Meryl Streep (for fun), internationals sometimes struggle to say my name, and pronounce it very differently from Mirol till Merle or Maral hahaha.

6. To which animal do you relate the most?

Uhmm that’s a hard one since I always answer questions like this differently everyday, but I asked around a little and Vera said I was a dog because I’m loyal (which is very sweet haha, thanks Vera), but Yente said a dolphin and dolphins sleep with only half their brains and suffer from insomnia just like me so I think I relate to that the most.

7. Which activity of Commotie is most memorable?

I think I was the most excited about the Sinterklaas integration activity even though I was late because I thought it started later :’). I still have my lovely poem and burned up all my candles!! (thanks board <3)

8. What are you most proud of?

I recently started running again in November, so I’m proud that I’ve been able to keep up with that until now, I ran 18k the other day I think I’m most proud of that. Also, I only killed one plant since I live on my own so I’m still a proud plant-mom of 8.

9. What is your favorite spot in Groningen?

This is such a hard question because I have so many good memories in so many different places in Groningen, for example Noorderplantsoen where I used to chill and bbq/drink/eat all summer with friends. Or all the little cafes to hang out with friends and drink coffee and study. I also love the center of Groningen where you can go shopping or go out until the morning and watch the sunrise from the Grote Markt while eating pizza or kebab. I think a lot of places in Groningen can be amazing as long as long as the sun is shining and you’re surrounded by great people and good vibes :))).

10. What did you want to be when growing up?

I wanted to be a princess (ofcourse), actress, teacher, fashion designer, psychologist (still kinda into that) and right now my plan is to become a journalist at a fashion magazine.

11. What is your favorite way of spending your free time?

Last year when I was living in Lisbon, I used to go out very often and visit new places or walk around the city or chill in parks, miradouro’s (viewpoints) or beaches with friends and just stay there drinking, snacking, listening to music and talking about all kinds of stuff until midnight.

Here in Groningen, I would like to do the same but since we have been in lockdown and the weather is overall shitty I didn’t really get the change to yet. So I’m very excited for summer to hang out with friends as much as possible and maybe go on vacation to discover new places.

Also, I absolutely loooove baking and cooking, lockdown or not. One positive point about this pandemic is that I started cooking together with people more which is a lot of fun. (very excited for the Mexican cooking workshop tomorrow).

12. What ability do you really want to have?

Oehhh, I would love to be able to fly or to make the sun shine whenever I want to. I still also really want learn how to play the guitar but I’m working on it right now.

13. What is your biggest guilty pleasure?

Dirty Dancing (best movie eveeerr), eating raw cookie dough (or any kind of dough/batter yummm) and justifying impulse purchases by calling it retail therapy.

14. What don’t you like?

Deadlines, messy places (constantly triggered by the mess I make of my own room ahhhgr), the unnecessary amount of packing material on everything, rude or judgy people and being cold (can we have summer again please).

15. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Hopefully travelling the world (finally), so somewhere in a beautiful place like a new city, or maybe in nature or at a beach with new (or old) friends, preferably with a bachelor’s degree in CIS. Not thinking about the future yet and just enjoying life as much as possible.

16. Which Commotie member would you vote for to become president?

I would say Vera or Tamara, because Vera is very organised but also very outgoing and always wants to include everyone in everything. Tamara is just the most social person I’ve ever met haha and is able to keep plants alive so why not a whole country. Both just very lovable persons who wouldn’t hurt a fly (except for soil-bugs).

17. Which two members of Commotie should go on a date?

Uhmm, honestly I have no idea since I don’t know all of the members and a lot of them are taken already, I think we should all meet up and go out when possible again, everything is more loose and fun when there’s alcohol involved ;).

18. To whom do you want to pass the keyboard and why? 

To keep the keyboard within the MediaCee for now, I’ll pass it on to Niek, he’s such a versatile person and way to humble about it :))).