This week, instead of knuckling down into studying for a stats resit, the final exam required to pass my pre-master, I found myself distracted by world events.
The psychology pre-master Whatsapp slowly turned from talk of statistics reports to news that exams were either postponed or going online with the UG to close until April 10. Days later the UG announced that all physical exams and lectures are off until August 31 at the earliest. It’s hard to deny how serious this pandemic is given that decision.
As talk of social distancing, self-isolation, quarantines, and testing centres got louder, everything was either cancelled or postponed with no idea when any of it might return. It seems selfish, but I think it’s okay to feel a bit shit about nights out, football games and meeting with friends being cancelled. Yet it all seems small now in the grander scheme of things. There’s still no date for that resit either.
It seems selfish, but I think it’s okay to feel a bit shit about nights out, football games and meeting with friends being cancelled
And so, with no idea when my exam might take place, I permitted myself some time away from studying to plan my next move. Like most internationals, my decision to remain in the Netherlands or move back home has been pushed along heavily by the fact that there will be no physical lectures or exams taking place here.
I’m sure that some international students might stay here in Groningen, but I’ll definitely be heading back to Ireland for a bit to wait for all of this to blow over. Besides, it won’t be too bad, really. I’m sure the university will figure out how to assess me for my last exam eventually. I’m hopeful that they’ll give us plenty of time to study and adapt to the changes in assessment conditions, too.
After that, I’ll be back in Groningen, sitting in the library, lectures, and exam halls eventually. So what is there to worry about, aside from the coronavirus? Then it struck me: I’ll be back, but many won’t. A lot of those in their final year, or sitting their masters now, have waved their last goodbye to their classmates, lecturers and to the UG this month, and they didn’t even know it at the time.
To those of you who are looking to finish your time at the UG online, my heart goes out to you all. To all of us, stay safe, wash your hands, and stay the fuck away from each other.