"What are you doing? Studying? Playing games?"
With these words, the waitress placed the beer next to my closed computer at the cafe I had been spending my afternoon. Why? Well, let me tell you the tale of broken wifi at a student house in the middle of a COVID-19-proof university.
It all started when the construction workers next door drilled a hole in the wall and hit our wifi cable. At least, that is my explanation; I don't know enough about the concept of the internet to know whether a technician is now laughing in my face. All I know is that two hours before my mid-term deadline, the wifi logo in the upper right corner of my laptop disappeared and made way for an exclamation mark: no connection found.
The next half hour was spent running up and down the stairs, plugging and unplugging the wifi router, resetting it, turning it on and off, googling what to do, and finally getting frustrated that none of my brilliant attempts worked to get the wifi going again. One uploaded deadline using my phone hotspot and one long night's sleep (after all, I could not Netflix before bed) later, it was Saturday morning and I was back kneeling in front of the wifi router, praying for it to work.
I decided to call the wifi provider. After 20 minutes on hold, forced to listen to Carwash, an expert finally affirmed my assumption: the wifi is broken. "We can fix it -" Connection lost. Again, 20 minutes later, I finally got an appointment to fix the internet: in one and a half weeks. That's the best they can do in times of Corona.
Losing your wifi, especially now, makes you realize one central thing: online university is great. If you have internet, that is. But what about that online discussion that I have to lead Wednesday night at 8pm when the cafes have either turned up their music or closed and people at the library don't want to be bothered with yet another individual on a zoom call?
But I try to make the best out of an unfortunate situation: I'm discovering cafe's and bars all around Maastricht and constantly treat myself to a nice chai latte (or, yes, beer).
Jesler van Houdt