For me, and likewise many other people, the coronavirus was just something bad happening in China at first. I thought the influence on my life would be minimal. Not much later the first cases started appearing in Europe, especially in Italy. People from popular skiing area’s in Italy took it back with them to the Netherlands, and carnaval in Brabant only made it worse. Before I knew it, at the end of the 3rd quartile, the news was dominated by this virus, and the university slowly closed its doors.
The start of the outbreak
At first the measures were mild. Lectures were moved to an online environment but studying on location was still allowed. I quite liked this form of studying. While I would normally get up at half past seven on a regular weekday, I could now get up an hour later. Put on a robe, make some coffee, and enjoy the lecture. While interaction with the class is more limited, making it harder for me to concentrate for long periods, online lectures did give me the possibility to watch any part again if I didn’t get it the first time.
With the exams getting closer, the plan was to keep studying at Flux. Working together with other students greatly increases my productivity and being able to ask questions and have discussions with others makes it easier to understand the subject. Unfortunately, the TU/e decided to close the whole campus just two days into the lecture free week. Together with the growing number of cases of the coronavirus and a new press conference urging people to stop unnecessary travel and contact, this changed my exam weeks greatly.
Life at home
Of course, studying was not the only thing that changed. While normally I would get home at 17:00 and stop thinking about my exams, the boundary between home life and student life had now vanished. Spending the whole day at home studying becomes boring quite fast, and I needed a change of environment. To accomplish this, me and my girlfriend went on walks to the supermarket almost every day. The one furthest away if it was not raining, so we could enjoy the nice weather and some fresh air. We also cooked more complicated dishes, as this was an easy and fun activity to do at home, for which we usually didn’t have as much motivation. For one of the dishes we had bought sardines, which we had to gut and descale ourselves. A first for me.
Due to the lack of exercise and increase in delicious food, the “corona kilo’s” started to slowly accumulate. I tried to incorporate cycling into my weekly routine, but this was easier said than done. Normally when studying in Flux we would go for a walk every couple of hours and get a cup of coffee at the van der Waals room even more often. This made for regular breaks during the day, which I do find hard to get now and which I do miss.
What it’s like right now
The fourth quartile was moved fully online, but by now I was used to it. The number of coronavirus cases was decreasing by now, and social interaction fortunately increased. While I was hesitant to go to my parents and grandparents at first, this was now an option again. I also got together with friends some more to barbeque with some beer, and we even studied together for the last exam week.
The hardest thing about still working at home is the already mentioned lost divide between studying and time off. I noticed myself becoming more perfectionistic and thinking about unsolved problems even while watching movies on the couch in the evening. I also really miss the variety in my environment and the people I see, even though it has gotten better.
The positive side is that I got to see how much fun it was to live together with my girlfriend for a prolonged period. This was especially challenging because of the lack of personal space in a student home. I also really like the increased variety in cooking and just random walks through town. Zwolle is apparently incredibly beautiful. But even though the change was not that bad and adjusting to the situation went great, I do hope that it will be over soon, so everything can return to normal and I can return to the university campus.