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“Four people my grandpa used to play cards with have died”

“Four people my grandpa used to play cards with have died”

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Archive Sara Mazzini

Sara Mazzini, a student in the research master’s programme Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience, has nowhere to be, but she is trying to maintain some sort of routine in this time of corona crisis. “I was following a Dutch language course, but the classes got cancelled as of today. I want to dress nicely, take the time to cook and keep exercising. I usually go to the gym three times per week; I now do exercises in the garden or go for a run.” She also reads books and watches series. “I’m currently watching Friends.” Well, technically she’s re-watching Friends. “I’ve already watched all the episodes, but they still make me laugh.”

Mazzini has been working on the last part of her master’s degree since November: a research internship at UM. “To do my job, I need special software that’s only installed on the university computers. It should theoretically be possible for me to log into my work desktop from home, but the connection is very slow. Even just booting it up takes a long time, let alone working with large amounts of data. The professor is trying hard to come up with a solution for us. We’re receiving daily updates about it.”

Mazzini is from northern Italy, the worst affected region of the country. Her city, Parma, was placed in lockdown two days earlier than the rest of Italy was. “Parma has 200 thousand residents. The coronavirus has already killed 120 people there.” No one in her family has yet been infected, but “four of the people who died were people my grandpa used to play cards with. Fortunately, he feels fine.”

“I was a bit shocked when the Dutch prime minister announced the closing of the shops and said that even more stringent measures might have to be taken. Can I still go back home? I’m staying here for the time being. Apparently, you can be infected without showing any symptoms. I’m worried about infecting my grandparents without knowing it. We call twice a day.”

What are these corona-days like for students? How does it affect their studies and other parts of their life? Observant speaks to one of them every day to give an idea about the virus' impact.

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