The second time around

24 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.

I broke my glasses right before the first live streams of this year’s introduction. And yes, there have been better starts in my life before. It is, however, undeniably, also at least a tad funny. Funny because, after searching and cleaning my old emergency-glasses and putting them on, I noticed something. Namely, that I look exactly like Antonia: 2016 edition.

Of course, more things than my eyewear have changed since I had my first introduction at Radboud in 2016. I’m not about to study Psychology, but Comparative European History — a course that didn’t even exist four years ago. I live in an apartment now and not in a small student room. I’m equipped with a good support network of friends and knowledge of the city’s best coffee places. I’m more settled and less insecure. Whatever the old glasses on my nose might suggest, I’m not the same I was when I first started here four years ago.

This year, of course, not even the introduction is the same as 2016 — or 2017 or 2018 or 2019 or any other year so far. It’s an one-of-a-kind introduction, marking the beginning of an one-of-a-kind study year. Hopefully one-of-a-kind, that is. The in-person activities have been reduced to one hour at the Sports Centre and one hour at the introduction market. That was on Sunday. Everything else: online lectures and online meetings. After two live-streams on the first day, more will follow, as well as online introduction markets and group games behind computer screens. It is, what it is. It’s the best possible solution, but it’s not a great one. Everyone is doing their best, but the best of a strange situation is still a strange situation.

Maybe everything will turn out just fine. In the end, it probably will. It’s a strange introduction during strange times. A strange beginning for what probably is going to be a strange year. At least, I keep thinking, I won’t have problems seeing everything with the blurry 2016-glasses now. The computer screen is close enough to be unproblematic for a near-sighted spectacle wearer like me. And the computer screen, well, is where the rest of my introduction and most of my study year are going to take place now.

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