We are nearing the end of this strange and special year, 2020. Time to reflect on the status quo. 20 people with links to Ghent University were selected at random. They tell us what 2020 meant to them, what they will carry over to next year and above all: what they hope for in 2021.
Babs Isenbaert is doing her second bachelor in psychology. She would also like to help people in the future.
How was 2020 for you?
“The first part of the year was pretty tough. I need structure and stability, but that disappeared all of a sudden. I have a really large circle of friends and I’m also in a student association. We frequently went out or studied together. When that was no longer possible, I felt lonely. Also, the move from my student accommodation back into my parents’ home took a lot of getting used to. I lost my focus entirely, and studying was out of the question. At the time, I thought I would fail my exams. In the summer, I realised I had to be strong and make the best of it, despite the corona crisis. Meanwhile I have grown quite accustomed to it. Student life is still pretty non-existent, but I’m back in student accommodation now, and trying to do my best for the exams.”
Of which accomplishment are you most proud in the past year?
“I saw the light this summer. Being unable to go out, or go to lessons, I tried out some new activities. So I got into sport: anything from workouts to running. That gave me the mental boost I needed to keep going.”
Last year was like no other, but it was also filled with warmth. We supported each other and shared in each other’s ups and downs. Now this is your chance to thank everyone who was there for you. Not in the usual way, but with a virtual projection of your best wishes onto the Book Tower.
What will you carry over to 2021?
“I am keen to stick to the habit of doing more sport. It’s tricky to get yourself moving, but once you do, you feel a real sense of satisfaction. I am also eating a more healthy diet: water rather than soft drinks, and plenty of vegetables and chicken on the menu. That makes me feel much more awake and productive.”
Who do you most admire at Ghent University?
“The four people with whom I share my student accommodation! They are all students at Ghent University too. They are such a comfort to me. If I feel a bit down for a moment, they encourage me to study together. In return, I treat them to some me-time, by painting their nails, and I try to be there for them. We’re like a little family.”
Imagine you could return to 1 January 2020. Would you do something different?
“Honestly? I would party so much that I’d have had enough for the rest of the year. I just can’t imagine the Overpoort overflowing any more. I would also get myself better mentally prepared. The lockdown was such a shock to me. Just before it struck, we were still making jokes about it.”
What do you hope for in 2021?
“I hope that everyone remains healthy, that the figures go down and that there’s a vaccine. That we’re gradually able to reduce the restrictions so that we can all have some fun together. That I get through this academic year with some good points. And a boyfriend, that would be nice (laugh).”
What do you wish other people at Ghent University in 2021?
“I wish everyone good health and a happy Christmas. And for 2021: that we can give each other a big hug and do what we enjoy doing. I wish all students all the very best in their exams. Just do brilliantly!”
20 people with links to Ghent University were selected at random. They tell us what 2020 meant to them, what they will carry over to next year and above all: what they hope for in 2021.
20 of 2020: Miglena wrote a compilation of poems, which will soon be published
Miglena Dikova-Milanova teaches Bulgarian in the faculty of Language and Literature at Ghent University. She has Bulgarian roots, but has been living in Belgium since the 1990’s. “I have rediscovered nature and myself during this period.”
20 of 2020: Alex received a smartphone from his children
Alex Verhegge graduated from Ghent University in 1969 with a law degree. He launched his career as a lawyer and later combined this with an assistantship at the university. He then became a magistrate, and was ultimately employed at the prosecutor general’s office in the appeal court in Brussels, where he was forced to retire this year.
20 of 2020: Ko began writing letters to friends and family
Ko Delforge is in her last year of secondary school. She used the extra time that was suddenly available for all kinds of creative projects. However, she struggled with the lack of social contact. She compensated by writing lots of letters to friends and family. Little pleasures in a strange year.
20 of 2020: Lennert dreams of a carefree summer full of parties
Lennert Camp is in his third year of a bachelor’s degree in Dutch-Swedish. He was always going to study Swedish, he says, as not does he like Ikea, but also because he particularly appreciates Sweden, which he discovered while travelling. He thinks the whole country is cool!