Over the past month I’ve had some new ‘first time’ experiences. I spent Christmas here in Groningen for the first time. Unfortunately, the lockdown left me with little to do. Mostly I was in my room, worked on my thesis, read, and played some games. The most excitement I’ve had has been a friend visiting the Monday before Christmas. What happened during their visit got me thinking…
Around 2.30 a.m. I woke up to the sound of 80s synthpop blasting through the walls. My neighbours were having a bit of party. Normally this wouldn’t bother me because I love Duran Duran (who doesn’t?), but my friend had to be up at 7 for work. Now, nobody should have to deal with me that late at night, but by 4 a.m. I knocked on their door and became every angry Irish neighbour complaining about noise that I’d laughed at as a teenager. Another first. Hooray!
The neighbourly apologies came around the evening time and everything is fine now. It turns out the ladies living next door are all first-year students doing their bachelors here at the UG. I have to admit, I feel a little sorry for them. I might be missing out on a Christmas with my family, but that opportunity will still be there next year. They’re missing out on so much more.
This virus has taken that away from my neighbours, and for all first-years
When I was in first year of my undergrad, I was spending my time trying to get into the local nightclub without ID and giving my friends money to buy me cans! We were going to pubs, clubs, and house parties. Those memories, to me, are priceless and I’ll never have the same opportunity again. This virus has taken that away from my neighbours, and for all first-years.
Now, everything from lectures to dating has moved online to an app. This possibility didn’t even exist when I started college and we’re all so lucky to have it now. But no app can compare to the memories from my first year, like the feeling of sneaking past the bouncer with my mates, meeting people in the back of the lecture hall, telling stories to get through a boring lecture and meeting my first proper girlfriend at orientation.
So, my advice to those missing out, is to enjoy the apps and the little get-togethers you can still have safely. Treat them as a practice run, but don’t forget about the real world once it comes back.
That’s where the real memories are.