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A beautiful place

As the emotional steamroller that is exams wheezes towards its inevitable halt (for a block, at least), I’m left pondering what’s to come next. It’s public knowledge that last summer was a bit of a non-event globally, or at least it was for those of us who made an extra effort not to catch or spread covid. But what about the one that’s to come and what about the year that’s just gone?

For a lot of my friends and colleagues on masters’ tracks throughout the UG, their year in the university and in the city has just come to a close. I use the word ‘in’ here lightly as, for many, they have never stepped foot in either Groningen or the university and depending upon what happens with graduations, they might never do so.

I’ve spent around sixteen months mostly in quarantine, with a year of that spent here in Groningen, and I’m not sure they’ve missed out on a lot. Considering what the city has been over that time, perhaps they were better off at home with their families and friends. I know I’ve enjoyed having my own space, but I haven’t seen anyone from home in a year and that takes its own toll.

Don’t let digital struggle be your only memory of a beautiful place

That said, the time I spent here before the whole mess of corona was amazing and the memories of that time are worth a lot to me. Groningen as it was when I came here is a stark contrast to the city in the depths of a quarantined winter. I’m glad to be spending a little extra time here, as I hope I will get to sit in the bars, talk with strangers and visit the lecture halls dotted across the city once again.

Considering anyone whose time in the city was spent under quarantine or whose engagement with the city and the university was purely digital, I’m sure they’re glad to be done. I can’t blame them either, as there’s little to be excited about with nothing other than Nestor, Blackboard Live, emails and assignments to fill their days.

But in the coming months, most of us will be getting a graduation. Take that excuse to come here and spend as long. Meet your classmates, enjoy the city, and make memories here. Don’t let digital struggle be your only memory of a beautiful place.

Life is so much more than that.

NIALL TORRIS

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