25 Aug 2020

Our author Antonia is taking part in this year’s introduction, which she last attended in 2016 when first starting a bachelor at Radboud University. But things have changed between 2016 and 2020. For Vox, she is keeping a diary of her second time around.

The introduction week is predominantly organised for two reasons. The first one is entirely about the academic side of your studies. It is the part of the introduction that includes campus tours or explanations on how the printers work. And while this academic aspect of the week is quite important, the second reason for the introduction week is absolutely crucial. It is, what I would summarise under the term ’extracurricular.’

Extracurricular activities are the clubs and associations you join and, most importantly, the friendships you make. It is, what keeps you from committing property damage when the printing app doesn’t work. And it is what cushions the mental breakdown when you realise that you’re too late for your mandatory course — and at the other side of the campus. Academic tips keep you organised. Extracurricular ones keep you sane.

The second day of the orientation week was about both the academic and the extracurricular aspects of the upcoming year. Now, I quite surely know where the Linnaeus is situated (next to the Science faculty) and the printing app doesn’t make me cry (most of the time). The academic part is under control. But the extracurricular one is just as new and anxiety-inducing for me as it is for everyone else. And this year, it is strange.

An entire day in front of a laptop screen, watching introduction videos and livestream-campus tours and clicking through the pages at the online introduction market. Writing fellow students in-between on WhatsApp. Does this link work for you? Did you take a look at that? Are we doing the same thing? Are you behind your laptop as well? Is this just as strange for you as it is for me? What is the cure against loneliness and isolation, when you are, in fact, pretty lonely and isolated?

After watching the Cultuur op de Campus livestream and clicking through some activities at the international and cultural night, I know one thing for certain: participation is key. My head is buzzing from looking at the screen the entire day. And I begin to notice that if I don’t reach out this year, if I don’t force myself to participate in something, in anything offline: this will be bad. It might have been the academics that I came for, but the extracurriculars will provide me with the endurance to power through.

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