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Welcome to the Off-Screen On-Screen newsletter of December!


2020 was a lot to take in and sometimes it can be hard to stay positive during these times, affected by tragic events, restrictions for our social life and distance from our friends and family. While we can’t change what’s out of our control or predict the unknown, we can consciously focus on good things and try to maintain some positive energy. So here are 5 Ways to stay positive during overwhelming times:


1. Go outside and get active: Fresh air can be very relieving and doing some sport or just moving your body can help vitalize your energy and get your mind off negative things happening in the world.

2. Balance your thoughts: Try to balance feelings of pessimism by remembering the people and times in your life that have been positive and comforting to you. Recall times in history when change has happened for the better.

3. Consume media wisely: While it’s important to stay informed, constant exposure to tragic news may add to feelings of distress. Stay informed but try to find a good balance for your media consumption.

4. Contact family and friends: Use your free time to talk to your friends and the people you love. Try to organize a video conference with all of your friends or get in touch with a friend you haven’t talked to in a long time. Reactivating old friendships can give you positive feelings and might make you remember fun times.

5. Try to find something to look forward to: Even though the future is unpredictable try to focus on small positive things in the foreseeable future. Wether it’s an upcoming Off-Screen event, a video call with friends, a day in the museum or a trip to your home country, focus on that rather than the negative things you don’t have any control over. I’m sure there is something you are excited about and can look forward to!

5 Ways To Get Through

The End of 2020

08  Movie Night #2

14  Study Session #2: MCIT

02  Christmas Cocktails

07  GMA #2

07  Santa Borrel

Coming Up: December

The Popularity of True Crime

You just need to open your Netflix home page to see what I’m talking about: true crime is everywhere. From shows like Making a Murderer to Tiger King, we are facing a real phenomenon of avid true crime ‘fans’. We watch the documentaries and listen to the podcasts with a fascination incomparable to nature shows and more alike to drama series - that’s to say we seem to be pretty entertained by them. But why? It seems like a wildly morbid topic to be so interested in - so is it because we’re all planning on becoming serial killers, or is it something else? 

There are quite a few reasons that we may not think of automatically - often, the reason we like true crime comes from deeper within us. An obvious one is the fact that evil fascinates us. We, the viewers, are (hopefully) not serial killers or murderers and so we want to know what possessed the killer to do something so horrific. We also can’t look away from a disaster, like when you drive past an accident on the highway and your head turns until your neck almost breaks. 

This also plays into our natural human tendency to find what we don't understand so interesting. This is already  quite reassuring considering that it means the reason true crime is so popular is because so few people are serial killers, considering true crime would get very boring very fast for an actual criminal.


Header by Merel Clerckx

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As the popular saying goes, studying at home sucks. But does it really? Some might say attending classes and being able to stay close to their families is the best, while others are craving the student life they very much expected to have. Truth is everyone is going through this in a different way and we want you to know you are not alone. You might be feeling a bit lonely and out of touch with your fellow classmates, especially those who are not in Amsterdam yet, that is why we decided to bring them to you (well, kind of, it was a bit expensive to literally bring them). Enjoy this little piece of their days 😊

Day in the Life

On a more psychological level, watching true crime and murder documentaries helps us feel prepared for any dangerous situation we might find ourselves in. This might be one of the reasons why most of the “fans” of this topic are women. More generally, humans love puzzles. We watch and try to become the true Sherlock Holmes within us. The last reason I can think of is a bit like the logic behind roller coasters. We love being scared in a way that won’t hurt us. Horror movies, thrillers, and yes, true crime, can offer us the adrenaline rush we’re all addicted to. 


The most baffling aspect to true crime is not necessarily the crime but the fact that it is true. We have become desensitised to violence, whether it be from mass media coverage of war and crime, or the ultra high definition graphics in video games depicting real world violence. This means that true crime hits close to home. It transcends the wall we had put up by  hiding real violence and replacing it with something we can reassure ourselves is not real. 


by Pierina Fiestas

by Shina Pieber

by Merel Clerckx




                                                                                  A pessimist would say

                                                                             that this article is at best a

                                                                          second rate Buzz-feed post with

                                                                        an expected readership of five people,

                                                                      two of which remembered to put this

                                                                   newsletter in their spam folder for the next

                                                               month. An optimist would say it might become

                                                             the best article ever written. A realist would silent-

                                                         ly agree with the pessimist. But who wants to listen to

               pessimists? With their negative attitudes and their snarky behavior. We live in a

          time of feel-good content: “Vines that will bring back your faith in humanity”, “Ten

       ways to have fun during COVID” and so on. We have a compulsory need to find the good

     in every situation no matter how bad. This is not inherently bad, hope and the likes are

    what ultimately gets us through hard times. But when this faux positivity gets repeated    

  everywhere and anytime ad nauseam it just becomes annoyingly out of touch. Who know 

  maybe we might enjoy content like this in the future:
  “Vines to make you forget about the opioid epidemic”, “Ten ways how the Plague could have

    been more fun”, “Grandma might be dead but the inheritance screams “VACATION!””
      Some things are objectively shitty and finding a silver lining in them is like telling someone

        on the Titanic to stop and listen to the music. I mean sure the ship might be sinking  and

           death by drowning is imminent but how often do you get to listen to an open-ended  

             concert (free of charge nonetheless). Maybe some things are simply not meant to be 

                  positive. Some more positively inclined readers, if there even are any left, might say

                     that this way of thinking doesn’t help the situation but I wholeheartedly disagree.

                             I receive way more pleasure from perpetually complaining about everything

                                    that is happening, a luxury that any true optimist cannot indulge in too

                                           often without having to read another self-help book. Most times it is

                                                  nice to take a situation for what it is and to ignore the need to 

                                                        embellish everything. The constant fleeing from experi-

                                                            encing the unpleasant makes us forget what being hu- 

                                                                man is really about. Namely perpetually complaining

                                                                    about everything without doing anything to

                                                                        change the world around oneself. Might not

                                                                             sound like the most productive of activi-

                                                                                ties but you sure have a lot of time

                                                                                      to come up with argu-

                                                                                          ments justifying


In Defense

of Pessimism


Off-Screen's Book Club

by Aaron Eller


by Nadia Heemskerk


Coming Up: January

            This month, the Reporter Committee - thinking of

     the current stricter Covid rules and wanting to share great

   experiences - made 3 playlists where we can all share our best vibes!


  The idea is to create a community feel, where we can all share our





                  music, vibing together ✌🏽, partying together 🍻, and

                       well, being a true homes to the last hahah!
                                So please share with the fam your

                                      best of the best!


Sharing is Caring -

Music Edition


04  Borrel

07  Thesis Event #1

12  Book Club Meeting

18  Borrel

20  Movie Night #3


Last week a small group of Off-Screeners got together for the first Off-Screen Book Club meeting. With some wine and hot chocolate we discussed Edward Snowden's autobiography 'Permanent Record' via Zoom. Even people that didn't read the book could participate with the discussion questions about what the impact was of Snowden's revelations and if this would have us change our digital habits. There were some quiz questions and memes in between, which helped everyone to engage with each other. At the end there was a heated discussion about the next book of the month, Lara tried to cheat to get her book to win, but in the end the book that won with just one vote more was Do Androids Dream of Sheep. On the 12th of January we will discuss this book, but if you haven't been able to read it by then, don't worry, you are always very welcome to join. If you would like to participate in the Book Club and join the Whatsapp group, please send an email to


by Leticia Zanini

🔳🔷〰️ Vibey 〰️🔹🔳 

👁‍🗨 Sexy times 👁‍🗨



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UvA Update

Follow us on Instagram

As the Reporter Committee of this year, we have created our own Instagram page where we introduce ourselves and post additional information about the newsletter.

Follow us: @offscreen.onscreen

Pierina Fiestas
Leticia Zanini

Leticia Zanini

Nadia Heemskerk
Aaron Eller

Aaron Eller

Merel Clerckx
Shina Pieber

Shina Pieber

Pierina Fiestas

Nadia Heemskerk

Merel Clerckx

Reporter Committee

Newsletter design by Merel Clerckx and Nadia Heemskerk

Would you like to receive help with choosing your Master's or finding an internship or job? Check out the UvA Career Centre! They host interesting workshops throughout the year, given by experienced professionals. The next events will be during the UvA Career Skills Week in February 2021.

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