On Monday June 28, the day had finally arrived: we were all allowed to return to our offices. With certain limitations, naturally, because not everyone has received a second coronavirus vaccination yet. Feeling somewhat ill at ease, my colleagues and I enjoyed our lunch together. At a safe one-and-a-half-meter distance of course, and with the approval of the corona coordinators with their orange vests. Although I think that they would probably like a different color after last weekend.
There had been some confusion at first. Were we required to wear face masks or not? One of us thought that we weren’t, because the email had said so, someone else thought that we were, because didn’t the poster next to the front door say so? And what about the elevator? Do we need to put our face masks on or take them off? Confusion rife, but at least we had enough to talk about. And we had missed that.
We discussed a variety of topics during that first lunch, ranging from the ‘secret’ smoking areas behind the bicycle parking facility and next to the child daycare center, to the printer that breaks down when there’s a malfunction at Canon. I too had no idea that everything you print at TU/e is read by Canon first before it goes to the printer. It reminded me of the time I graduated at Vodafone in Maastricht in 2003. During the ultra-secret UMTS auctions that took place at the time, it turned out that the negation team’s pc had been configured incorrectly, as a result of which all kinds of secret documents started to come out of the printer at random locations in the building.=
It’s obvious that I missed TU/e. I’ve spent over 21 years working on the campus every day, and it took some time getting used to working from home for an entire year. Happily, TU/e also missed me. Because on 22 June 2021, I got an email with the header ‘Welcome to the TU/e Alumni community!’, followed by ‘Congratulations with your diploma!’
The email informed me about the many opportunities my diploma offers me, and that TU/e would like to stay in touch with me via its Alumni portal. I enthusiastically clicked the (safe)link. Once you get to the alumni portal, you can log in with a special button for employees (and students…). Something seems to go wrong there, because I got to see the next screen.
I forgive them for forgetting my birthday (even though half the globe celebrates it by putting a decorated tree in the living room). And the fact that they forgot the email address where they sent the invitation to is good news, because it means that the tracking service is turned off.
But it’s a mystery to me why my name is Array Array. It’s a fitting name though, because my research project supervisor, a mathematician, had already told me during my diploma award ceremony that I proved to be better at computer science than at math.
I eventually gave up trying to log in via the Alumni portal. I’ve grown tired of virtual meetings, and luckily these will become increasingly less necessary in time. I sure am glad to be allowed back on campus with my colleagues and students!