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.
For Yanis Peters, 2020 was the year he found love: he finally embarked on his great passion - maths - at Ghent University. And he also found true love, when corona brought him and his girlfriend together.
What did 2020 mean to you?
“2020 was the year I began at Ghent University. I’m doing my first bachelor in maths. The circumstances were hardly ideal, but I’m making the best of it. I notice that people around me are finding it harder to cope. I consider myself lucky, as I was well prepared in many ways. I have two screens, a peaceful working environment, good internet… That’s not always an easy matter for everyone. Also, I think my studies are really interesting. The courses are just my cup of tea and I can concentrate easily. Finally, I can enjoy nothing but maths. During the lockdowns, I kept in touch with my friends via Discord. That’s not the same as seeing each other in real life, but at least it helps. Fortunately, we managed a proclamation ceremony at secondary school, and a proper goodbye with classmates.”
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.
Of which accomplishment are you most proud in the past year?
“I received the maths prize at my proclamation. I already knew that I wanted to study maths, so the award was the icing on the cake.
I am also really proud to have met my girlfriend this year. Actually, that’s thanks to corona! I have known her for a long time, from the music school, but the lockdown brought us much closer. We found each other great comfort and great company. She was stuck at home with glandular fever, which meant we could only chat from a distance for a long time. Her immune system was weak, and we didn’t want to take any risks. It was wonderful when we could finally get together in July. Although the year has been bizarre, I’m also delighted that we’re now together.”
What do you hope for in 2021?
“Most of all, I look forward to meeting my fellow students. I love my programme, but am missing the social contact, so I hope this will soon become part of my student life.”
What will you carry over to 2021?
“Surprisingly enough, 2020 taught me how to plan. Pupils and students are expected to be very independent, which taught me to make my own schedule and stick to it. It’s something I enjoy.
I am also keen to remember that it’s important to appreciate people when they’re there. And I don’t mean that in a dramatic way necessarily. But this year, for example, it was difficult to see your friends. And then you start to think: maybe I should have gone to that party after all. Maybe I’ll say yes more quickly when my friends invite me out, once it’s allowed again.”
Who do you most admire at Ghent University?
“I look up to my professors. For me, there’s nothing more exciting that hearing people talking enthusiastically about maths. There’s one professor who stands out from the crowd and that’s professor Leo Storme. I find his enthusiasm incredibly infectious.”
What do you wish other people at Ghent University in 2021?
“I hope that everyone can study exactly what they want to, and find what makes them really happy. The joy I experience in studying maths is something I wish for everyone.”
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.
Do you fall in love more quickly in the summer?
“Summer lovin', had me a blast. Summer lovin', happened so fast.” Danny and Sandy felt it already in the classic film Grease: during the summer there is love in the air. But is there any truth in it? Do we fall in love more quickly in the summer?
Laura Sels seeks the secret to a successful relationship
For Laura Sels, not a day goes past without talking about relationships. You could call her a romantic, although she doesn’t necessarily believe in the ‘one and only’. She spends a little too much time looking at things from a research perspective for that: after all, as a postdoc, she is studying emotional processes in romantic relationships. “I can spend hours philosophising and thinking about them. I am also keen to actually help couples in the future.”
Forget Tinder, head for the Boekentoren
The place to be if you are looking for scientific literature, periodicals, theses or manuscripts…. And who knows, maybe even the love of your life? For some, the magnificent setting of the Ghent University Boekentoren tower has not only been a place to study, but also the beginning of something beautiful.
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.”