I sharpened all my pencils. Cleaned and neatly organised my desk. Requested permission to access all Google docs and Zoom meetings. A tingling in my stomach affirms it: My second semester in Freiburg starts in two days and I am excited!
Wait, back up. My second semester is about to start? While my friends over in Maastricht are dotting the I's and crossing the T's in their Bachelor theses? While everyone gets ready for summer and freedom, I get ready for the introductory lectures of my courses?
Surprisingly, yes. I must say that I'm an exception: for most, if not for all of my friends, uni started weeks ago. But my course coordinators and tutors seemed to hope for the Corona pandemic to have swept over by mid-June and decided to wait until the very last moment to teach their courses, just in case in-class teaching would be possible again. Those, I must say, were the bravest of my professors: my Spanish course was cancelled altogether. For, (I must assume this was their logic) what is the point of learning a foreign language when the borders are shut?
Now, I find myself looking forward to diving into the depths of Zoom - a platform that seems to have turned from the best online learning platform on the market to the worst. To a semester of attending lectures in my pyjama and munching on crisps without bothering a soul. Of treating "Material and Product Life Cycles" as a home movie with a twist.
In fact, I did get a preview of what my life in two days will look like. I planned an interview for the research project I am currently doing as part of my degree in Freiburg. A simple call, I thought. I had everything set up - my phone to my left, my laptop to my right and my notebook with the questions in the middle - when I got a Zoom invite. A quick glance at my reflection in the kitchen door glass told me that I needed to get creative. Quick! And so, I jumped up, raced to my pile of crumpled-up clothes, and grabbed the finest blouse I could find. I regretted sniffing it as a fool-proof check of cleanliness, but hey, this is Zoom: as long as it looks good, it is good.
And so, with a crinkly shirt and loose lock, my sharp pencils and empty notebooks, I, finally, am ready to start!
Jesler van Houdt