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.
This year’s orientation appears to have been both shorter and longer than my first orientation in 2016. Objectively, it was obviously shorter. It’s over and we haven’t quite reached the middle of the week. The only thing left on Wednesday is a final (online) meet up. A virtual coffee to attend, in the name of cross-introgroup-socialisation. Subjectively, however, the length of this introduction is a whole other story.
It seemed longer. It wasn’t. But it seemed like it. And it drained me more than every pub crawl could have. My body appears to not be equipped for this amount of Zoom calls and live streams and Discord servers and WhatsApp chats all at once. At least for now. I’m pretty sure that this next online semester will force a technological adaption on me that will eventually result in me opening a TikTok account, so I can fully indulge in my belonging to Generation Z.
Don’t get me wrong. I really think that everyone did their very best in order to make this orientation a success. And I’m convinced that everyone is doing their best to make the upcoming study year as doable as possible. It’s the best deal we can get on the price we have to pay during a global pandemic. We have to stay at home as much as possible. Introduction week and next semester included. Even if that means to meet your fellow students and new teachers behind a 13 inch screen.
I’m mentally as much over this pandemic as the next person. But unfortunately, this pandemic doesn’t seem to be over us yet. We can’t go back to one-hundred percent of public life yet. We can socially distance and get a coffee. We can socially distance and attend university in person at least once a week. Pick up books, go to the supermarket, go out for dinner. With health checks and distance and caution. And while it’s tempting to get reckless at this point, this long year isn’t over yet.
This year’s introduction was special in many ways. Especially because it provided a glimpse into what the new study year is going to be like. What living your life online in a city that many people just moved to is going to be like. How much we will have to fight isolation and loneliness this year. That these are challenging times and we have to figure them out. And that we will figure them out. Because if anyone is equipped for dealing with Zoom meetings and anxiety, it’s this generation of young people.