We’ll be celebrating Easter next weekend, or at least we’ll sit down with our family to enjoy a copious breakfast with juices, sandwiches and an abundance of eggs. Easter is the day of resurrection, and that’s what our university community seems to be in need of more than ever. If I got paid a euro every time someone told me that they’ve ‘come to the end of their rope,’ I could retire. Resurrection, that will be the motto from now on.
We’ve entered into the final three months of this academic year and it doesn’t seem as if we’ll be spending many days of that year on our campus. We plough on towards the summer break and hope for an acceleration of the vaccine program and the arrival of a serious and effective rapid testing procedure for higher education. Yesterday, our board announced in its Corona Update that physical education will once again be allowed, in combination with a rapid self-test and the one-and-a-half-meter measure, of as 26 April. TU/e aims to provide as many students as possible with on-campus education in Q4 for at least one (part of the) day.
But that promise also came with a few reservations: it partly depends on the courses you take. In addition, our lecturers aren’t obliged to teach your course in person, that will be decided in consultation with the program director. This means that students still have to wait and see how often they can come and visit our campus. Much remains uncertain at several levels; it’s almost like the real word at times.
But let’s remain focused on the glimmers of hope in these times of little physical contact. My fellow columnist Oded Rez made a nice contribution to this on Monday. But the photograph he added shows that it takes effort. I myself have noticed that the ongoing expulsion to our home offices and the fact that we’re dependent on Teams meetings require different skills as team leader. You need to try and detect and dismantle tensions within a group on time, and you need to make sure that you don’t arrive at premature conclusions based on incomplete information. But you’re not always successful, unfortunately. Nowadays, things you would have noticed much sooner ‘at the office’ or that you would have discussed over a bowl of soup or a cup of coffee in the canteen often disappear in the corona mist, in which our outgoing government still seems to be wandering around as well.
But we were supposed to talk about resurrection and optimism. The fact that teaching and research activities still take place is a great achievement in itself. But everyone hopefully also understands that things as they stand aren’t what they’re supposed to be. The fact that student associations and student teams do their utmost best to continue with their activities is praiseworthy as well. The auxiliary staff, which works extremely hard to keep the primary process up and running, also deserves its share of praise. And our caterer’s initiative to launch pop-up canteens will hopefully also be a source of encouragement for our community.
So, go out and enjoy Easter in the coming days and try to brave the storms – which will no doubt blow up during the next three months – as best you can.