What stayed with first-year student of Econometrics Cedric Pots most, are his daily meetings with his mentor group, usually in the park. Excuse me? Is that a responsible thing to do at the moment? “Sure, we really did our best to keep our distance and didn’t get up to anything. We mostly played games in order to get to know each other.”
The same goes for Renée Moers, first-year student of Biomedical Sciences. She also met her fellow group members outside on several occasions “at a 1.5 metre distance”. One time they had a pizza and another time they just had a drink.
Moers admits that she wasn’t really looking forward to Monday morning, “I wasn’t in the mood. I thought: ‘The Inkom is so different to what it normally is, much is online …’” But that feeling changed completely as the week went on. “It was really good fun.”
Derck Dolmans, first-year student of Biomedical Sciences, was in Maastricht since Thursday. That is when the Inkom for him really started to come to life (before that, he followed the online programme from his parents’ house in Kranenburg). He went about with some people from his “really fun” Inkom group. “My papas were from Stennis. They knew where to go after ten o’clock – the official programme finishing at ten – where there were still things to do. At a suitable distance,” he emphasises several times. There was even a champagne brunch on someone’s roof terrace on Friday.
Student behaviour was being monitored with a magnifying glass this week. The introduction period at Dutch universities was on the brink of being completely cancelled by the cabinet. And the mentors were all too aware of that magnifying glass. Moers: “My mamas from sorority ExpresZo [of which the Inkom Working Group chairperson is also a member, ed.] knew that there was a lot they couldn’t do or organise. They strictly abided by the rules.”
All those interviewed followed some part of the online programme. Pots watched the live debate with political parties and student associations. He also took the time to do a Chinese workshop. “I knew nothing about it, so everything I learned was worth it.” Moers joined the online pub quiz. But often the first-year students didn’t bother with the platform. Too boring or a lot of technical fuss.
As was the case for Maud van der Velde, first-year student of Medicine. She found it hard to get access to the online activities. “When it didn’t work, I soon gave up.” Dolmans, who followed the first three days of the Inkom programme from his parents’ house in Kranenburg, also had some problems. “It was difficult to sign up for the online pub quiz for example. Before you knew it, it was full and there were problems with the external sites that processed the registrations.”
The large events, such as the opening ceremony, cantus and closure, were watched by most in dribs and drabs.
Fraternities and sororities
And what about student life? Have they become enthusiastic about student associations or fraternities/sororities? Both Van der Velde and Moers had no idea beforehand what this phenomenon was. That all changed because of their mamas.
Van der Velde was with independent sorority Schanulleke and with Dextra, the independent medical sorority. With them, she had tapas and went swimming in Fun Valley. Van der Velde: “I received messages from them via social media; so now I have gotten to know the sororities as well as other first-year students. It was really great fun.” Moers had already decided not to join a student association, “because I’m not that type. But now that I have gotten to know ExpresZo better, my mamas sorority, I am quite enthusiastic.”
Wendy Degens, Riki Janssen, Yuri Meesen, Maurice Timmermans