‘Will you be at the lecture?’ I text a fellow student. During the last lecture, she was “present” through Zoom, and this will likely be the case today as well. We are not that familiar, so I do not feel comfortable enough to ask her why. If she wanted to share, she would have done so, right? So, I leave it at an ‘Ah, pity, better luck next time!’. A few days later, I ran into her on the campus during a workgroup of a different course. ‘Attending this class online would be a bit troublesome’, she volunteers, in response to my surprised look.
Despite the fact that many students yearned for lectures on the campus for two years, I notice that now it is once again permitted, some are not very enthusiastic. ‘It was actually quite convenient to attend classes from home’, a close friend says when I discuss this phenomenon with her. She has become so accustomed to studying in her room by herself that studying in a crowded classroom or library is too distracting and (mentally) exhausting. And she is not alone. Over half of the students struggled with psychological issues (leads to Dutch content) at the start of last year. These issues include mental fatigue, loneliness and suicidal thoughts. These complaints don’t magically disappear when the measures that caused them are lifted!
Not to mention the students that developed mysophobia or mysophobia-light over the last two years
Personally, I wonder how long life will remain “open” and “free”. Covid is still present in large portions of the world, and a new variant with severe symptoms could easily emerge. If it does, will we go back into lockdown? I hope not. But at the same time, the alternative -overburdened health care and many sick- is no great perspective either. Not to mention the students that developed mysophobia or mysophobia-light over the last two years
Thus, there are several reasons for students to feel wary of returning to the campus. Let’s respect that and support them. Covid may be over, but its effects on our mental health remain.
Emma Mouthaan (26) is a master’s student of Molecular Nutrition and Toxicology and is also taking a master’s in Writing at the VU. Emma blogs on studying and finances on the website The Stingy Student. Previously, she wrote about fashion and food.