It’s good to be in Groningen

After yet another unexpectedly short and sleepy summer, Old Grunn is buzzing again! There’s trepidation and excitement in equal measure as we look forward to a fresh academic year.

Marking it all last Monday was the opening ceremony, complete with a procession, lovely, fun music,  and interesting speeches held, presumably for our benefit, in beautifully eloquent Dunglish. Watching on, splayed out on my couch, I couldn’t help but agree with our rector as she compared the student body to an implacable gingko tree.

The message of the event rang painfully true however. With housing, mental health and financial crises looming overhead, a call to resilience was a much needed reminder to be prudent and to not take everything for granted. That’s not to say though, that it’s all teeth grinding sobriety from here on out.

With housing, mental health and financial crises looming overhead, a call to resilience was a much needed reminder

Resilience can take many forms, including persevering in thankfulness for what we have, and in celebrating when there’s reason to, even in the face of difficulty. In my book, new beginnings, the first post-pandemic academic year and the resumption of student life are cause enough.

The signs are everywhere. All across the city, baby-faced, bag-laden students are racing about accosting strangers for housing, getting ripped off on bikes, frantically mispronouncing street names and failing to decipher the floor plans of university buildings.

Come evening, and the self-same bunch can be found walking happily down the middle of the street in their respective hordes of newly minted besties. If it weren’t for the risk of infecting them with sour senior syndrome, nostalgia alone would be enough to make you want to shake their hand and pinch their cheek.

Taking stock of the challenges we face needn’t stop us from diving confidently back into the magic of student life. Take a look around, and savour it. It’s good to be in Groningen.

HRYDAY SAMPALLY

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