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 somthing 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.
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 traveling. He thinks the whole country is cool!