After two academic years dominated by corona restrictions, this summer holiday feels almost normal. I may not have had the chance to go to a festival, but I did go out. Once. It felt really strange, so many people so closely packed together without even space to dance. I went to Italy and Germany for the holidays where, apart from the face masks, almost everything was back to normal. I saw a lot of friends again who seemed to have completely disappeared during the lockdowns. Now I am happy that we can go to TU Delft again, without that one-and-a-half metre social distancing. If we put on a face mask in the corridors and be in lecture halls with no more than 75 people, we can cuddle while studying.
This is a step forward compared to the situation before the summer when we could only come to campus to work with other students in one space after having reserved a spot. We had to secretly maintain our social lives outside the lecture halls. We did not have much structure. We could easily stay in bed an hour longer and roll into the Zoom lecture straight from bed. You can’t do this with physical lectures though. You feel really embarrassed if you stumble into the lecture hall too late.
‘Anything is better than watching those endless Zoom lectures’
Only, I don’t think that studying with the new more flexible regulations will feel normal again, if only because there simply used to be more people in most lecture halls. We will have ‘hybrid’ lectures now which will mean that a large number of students will have to watch the livestream from home. It will feel odd to have the privilege on one day to come to a lecture in person and the next day attend a Zoom session in your pyjamas.
And what about the face mask rule? I really thought that I would never have to put on a face mask again. You don’t have to wear one in the supermarket or the football stadium, do you? Students will probably wear them just ‘because you have to’ instead of because they believe that it helps.
I hope that my fellow students do not feel alienated from campus and still come to lectures so that I can at least see them once in a while. We need to see how it all goes on the first day of lectures. One thing is for sure, anything is better than sitting at home alone and watching those endless Zoom lectures.
Bas Rooijakkers is a master’s student in Applied Physics. He was born in Brabant and spent part of his youth on Curaçao. He enjoys jogging and since the corona pandemic has also picked up cycling. He is also always in for a coffee or a craft beer.