Christmas curfews and small steps forward

This week, as lockdown measures and curfews begin to grip Groningen again, we are faced with the ever-growing certainty that two years of our lives will be effectively lost to COVID. The necessary evil of the lockdown measures associated to COVID eased for a while but more recently it has felt like one small step forward and two large ones back. This has stirred my thoughts.

A few days before Christmas last year I played the unenviable role of grouchy neighbour as I found myself knocking in next door at around 5am to get some music turned down as a few in the house had work early the next day. The whole thing wasn’t particularly pleasant, and a few apologies had to be thrown around the next day, particularly to the neighbours whos’ door I wrongly knocked first.

The revellers came to apologise too. What struck me was that they were all in their late teens. We all made up and then talked for a while about how awful it was for them that they couldn’t just head out all night like I could when I did my undergrad. They’ve been robbed of that experience and now what little parts of it that had just returned have been snatched away again by a curfew.

It’s hard not to feel some injustice about how much enjoyment sucked out of our lives by this pandemic

While the need for such lockdown measures is obvious, it’s hard not to feel some injustice about how much enjoyment sucked out of our lives by this pandemic. There are so many students now who are just about to finish degrees or enter their final year who have never had the chance to really live the college lifestyle or experience Groningen in full effect.

Like many I look back with fear to the lockdowns we experienced last year and hope that we don’t have to end up back in that place. We have moved forward a lot though and it’s easy to see some improvements aside from being able to be out until 5pm now.

Around this time last year, I was putting together the finishing touches on Christmas presents to send back home to my family in Ireland. Like many students, I couldn’t travel home due to the pandemic and was left on my own in my apartment for Christmas. Thankfully, thanks to the prevalence of vaccinations most of us are able to get home this year.

I just hope we can get back to improving soon.


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