Return

Photo by Reyer Boxem

Return

By Niall Torris
9 September om 9:10 uur.
September 9 at 9:10 AM.

If you’d asked me how I felt about returning to Groningen a week ago, I’d have one word. Anxious.

The regular anxieties of moving across the continent (or the world) are enough to get anyone worked up. Have I packed everything? What time is my train? Will I find housing? But this year was different. As I walked into Dublin airport to make the journey to Groningen once more, I was met with a wave of new worries.

Questions were racing. Is this mask good enough for a plane? Will it take airport security longer with all the Covid checks? Or shorter, with so few travelling? I really hoped they wouldn’t want to shove a cotton swab up my nose; though I would have agreed if asked (I got lucky there).

As it turned out, I got through Dublin airport pretty quickly and, in a case of untold luck, the Ryanair pilot was allowed to take off 15 minutes early because everyone was already on the plane. There were no issues at Schiphol either. I got on the train to Groningen and I was on my way (after having to quickly switch trains back to grab my passport, which I’d left behind in an airport shop).

University is about so much more than just education

As I sat on the train to Groningen, for the second time, my mind drifted to what I was going to find when I arrived. The familiar sites of the UB, Academy building, UKrant offices, Kult and Grote Markt are all as familiar to me as Dublin. Groningen is really a such second home now that I sometimes forget I’m in Holland and not Ireland.

But as the train barrelled along, I found myself gripped by worry. Looking back, I’d say it I was the fear of missing out. Now, I’ve no doubt UG will have my education up to their usual high standards, but university is about so much more than that, isn’t it?

To me a big part of uni is sitting in a lecture hall, or a pub, and meeting new people. Sharing a joke, chatting and maybe starting a new friendship. I was worried about losing out on all that. But I shouldn’t have been. While everything is a little different, Groningen is still my second home and a city I love.

And if you asked me how I felt now I’m back, I’d still have one word for you. Delighted.