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“This isn’t what I thought my last semester would be like”

“This isn’t what I thought my last semester would be like”

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Archive Nici Friedman

Nici Friedman, third-year student at University College Maastricht, still lives in her student house in Maastricht. She went to her parents for Eastern. But she couldn’t go home for a longer period of time even if she wanted to, she jokes. “I have a lot of plants that would probably die if I left. I stayed here because my parents live relatively close by in Frankfurt, but mostly because it’s easier for me to concentrate on my studies here. I’m following several courses and I’m also working on my bachelor’s thesis.”

When she’s taking a break from studying, Friedman sits in the garden to enjoy the sun or takes long walks around Sint-Pietersberg. “I’ve done more exploring these past few weeks than in all the years before.” She also trawls YouTube for high-intensity training and yoga videos. In the evenings, she has dinner and plays board games together with those of her housemates who are still in Maastricht as well. “That’s the nice thing about this situation. We never used to do this.”

Online education is “difficult because it’s new, but it’s going well. It feels strange to be in my room all day and ‘go’ from one tutorial to another. Fortunately, we have very good Wi-Fi.” The university is doing its best, says Friedman, but not everything is going smoothly. “Last week, we were told to read two chapters from a book 24 hours before our tutorial session would begin. It was impossible: the university library is closed and the book would take longer than a day to arrive if I ordered it online.”

Friedman will graduate at the end of the semester, but there won’t be a graduation ceremony. “It has already been cancelled. I was looking forward to getting together with my fellow students one last time and receiving our degrees. I probably won’t even see some of them again. It’s a small thing, but it still makes me sad.” She also misses the UCM common room and studying at her favourite cafe. “This isn’t what I thought my last semester would be like.”

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