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.
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!
What did 2020 mean to you?
“It was a year with many ups and downs. There were a few times when I had a difficult time mentally. For example, I realized that I am really bad at taking classes online because I miss the interaction with other students. As a result, I find it difficult to motivate myself to participate in online lessons. I have a harder time now than during the first lockdown. At least then we still had hope that we could go back to campus soon, that hope is now falling away. I have a very difficult time with that, together with many people in my area.”
Who do you most admire at Ghent University?
“For me, my friends are the best UGhenters. During the first and second lockdown they have been very helpful to me. We have developed the habit of all video calling each other in the evening. Those conversations always take a long time because it is one of the few things you can still enjoy together.”
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 have you achieved yourself this year?
“I have become a sympathetic ear to friends. They know that they can always knock on my door to chat. About all sorts of things. I am proud of that. I have a nice group of friends with whom you can really talk. If I or someone else says, “Guys, I am not comfortable anymore”, then we help each other. This can range from exchanging summaries or notes of lessons, to just a short video call to chat.”
What achievement are you most proud of?
“That I still achieved good results (laughs).”
What are you taking with you to 2021?
“When we got to meet up with friends during the summer, I noticed that I appreciated those moments much more than in ‘normal times’. When I used to go for a drink with friends to the Graslei or De Krook, it was so self-evident. Now I enjoy the little moments together much more.”
What do you hope for in 2021?
“I hope it will be a milder year for everyone and that we can hug each other again soon, dance together and have fun.”
Suppose you could go back to January 1, 2020. What would you do?
“I would get good exam results because I would have focused more during the first semester, because I did too little during that time (laughs). And then in January, I would still have time to go out to a café with friends and party, knowing that there was a year of hard work ahead.”
What do you wish people in 2021?
“I wish all my fellow students a lot of success with the exams and the strength to keep going. And I hope we can meet again and party together when we are all vaccinated, hopefully before summer. It will be the best summer ever (laughs). It won’t be possible to work for school, I’m afraid…”
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: Kristien thinks video consultations are the year’s best invention
Kristien Lemaitre graduated as a doctor from Ghent University in 1998, before specialising as a psychiatrist. After doing the tour of emergency services and hospital units all across Flanders, she trained to be a psychotherapist. She now works in mental healthcare centres and in a group practice.