Starting up with a shriek


Looking at this morning's corona update it seems that we are now able to do more things on our campus. But seated at my desk in the Auditorium on Monday, it was evident that some parties were not cooperating. Our faithful Senseo machine, which has been gathering dust for this past year, let out a shriek when it attempted to pour me a cup of coffee topped with a nice layer of froth. We need to leave the wretch in peace a little while longer.

Monday also saw the long-awaited start of the rolling version of the graduation ceremonies in the Auditorium's Senate Room; if this spectacle had occurred before there was any question of a pandemic, we would have greeted it with stifled embarrassed laughter.

Contrast this for a moment with the abundant festivities the university put on for the same event a few years ago - MomenTUm, next planned for later this year and which in September of last year was unavoidably relocated to the virtual arena - and a walk-through graduation ceremony like this seems somewhat surreal. It is akin to sitting in the most spectacular rollercoaster at Six Flags and then having to swap that for a fairground pony ride.

Nonetheless on Monday I saw only overjoyed students and family members milling about, people delighted to now be receiving their degrees in person. Even if the experience lasted all of five or six minutes and the lobby of the Auditorium is hardly the most inviting place to linger afterwards with mom and dad, savoring the moment. But all that seems incidental to the supreme fact of this once again being possible. Never mind that almost a year has passed between the completion of your Bachelor's Final Project and the ceremony itself. And let's be honest, those balloon arches gracing the entrance and exit of the Senate Room were pretty charming.

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Speaking for myself, on the few occasions that I have been back on the campus I have until now been surprised by a somewhat gnawing feeling of sorrow. The Auditorium is near enough empty, outdoors a couple of lone figures drift across the campus and now and then I greet someone from cleaning services or catering. No, effortlessly leaving my car in the parking lot beside the Auditorium, a treat this situation affords, outweighs none of this.

Because, as I said, my Senseo machine after all these months of neglect has also given up the ghost, for a really good cup of coffee I had to head over to Atlas, to the re-opened Brownies&downieS. In my experience this place is succor for the soul. Fresh soup, salads and bread rolls served up by enthusiastic people. Now they too are getting back down to work. On my way over there I pick up a couple of topics for Cursor. It's news gathering in its purest form: you meet people in the buildings or at a meeting and they tell you things.

In short, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Let's cross our fingers (and get vaccinated) that a normal Intro will again be possible after the summer vacation and that life on the campus will ease back into normality. And on that note, it's time I went in search of a new coffee maker.

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