Anja Iseli studies language and communication (Image: Beast blog).
After two years of the pandemic, students can finally visit the university again without restrictions. It’s also been a special two years for Beast author Anju. She tells how daily university life with Corona changed from her point of view, and she immediately asked her classmates and the rector.
I did my undergraduate studies at the University of Basel, so I know all the tools, spaces and processes. But almost none of my colleagues from the bachelor’s program took the master’s degree with me. So I enjoyed meeting new people and getting a taste of university life again after a year off after my bachelor’s.
However, I was only able to enjoy one semester on site: In my second master’s semester, all courses were moved to Zoom after a few weeks. In the beginning, it seemed quite chaotic to me, like many of my classmates and lecturers. It quickly became apparent that events could not simply be switched 1:1 from face-to-face to online lessons.
However, I was very pleasantly surprised when just one semester later, in the spring semester of 2021, the quality of teaching increased massively. It has been noted that lecturers have looked into the possibilities of Zoom and adapted their courses accordingly. I have attended many great seminars and also learned a lot in online courses. But it was still a shame that I didn’t meet so many new people. When I started my thesis, I wish I had more exchanges with like-minded people. It would be good to discuss such a big challenge with other students.
I think it’s a shame that now that everything is in person again, I don’t have to go to any events anymore. I will finish my studies in the summer and now I am just preparing for my master’s exams. This means that I could attend face-to-face courses for only one semester during my entire master’s degree. So I could not enjoy the student life, the campus or the numerous events around the University of Basel at all.
I started studying before Corona and noticed how much my rhythm changed in the meantime. During the lockdown, it was harder for me to sit in front of the laptop and my concentration time was also shortened. I’m all the more happy that I’m back to normal now.
I have found the value of face-to-face contact with classmates and lecturers and that it helps me separate my private life from the university when I travel to the university. However, I also recognize a certain reluctance among students to establish contacts.
Online time had the advantage that I could organize my daily life more flexibly, for example through recordings and podcasts of lectures that I could watch at any time. However, it was a shame that not all faculties took the same measures. Especially with regards to exams: In some cases, you could move on to the next semester without having to take an exam.
Corona means that I value and maintain social contacts much more, but I also no longer take carefree studying for granted. There will still be those who wear a mask or keep their distance and feel a certain insecurity, but it will definitely take time for the fear to disappear. I am very appreciative that we were able to continue our studies here in Switzerland relatively smoothly and that care was also taken not to return to normal too quickly.
I started my master’s studies in language and communication in the fall semester of 2020. At that time, some face-to-face courses were still offered. However, due to the high incidence, from about the middle of the semester, all courses were converted to Zoom. For me, this meant that I could only meet a few classmates in person. I got to know my classmates mainly when there were group tasks in the seminars that required cooperation. However, I found that the students were very open, even though you could only write to each other via Zoom or email.
However, it was not so easy to contact classmates because there are no participant lists on ADAM. I would like that, at least for the duration of online classes. It would facilitate exchange between students. I also had trouble getting in touch with the lecturers. You couldn’t just approach them with questions during a break or after an event. All the instructors have made great efforts to make the seminars as interactive as possible, especially with the progressive online lessons. However, I am glad that they are now back on site as I can take away a lot more personally from the events.
I already had a few seminars and lectures on site last semester, but the situation was still very tense, you wore a mask and you had to show a certificate. Plus, one was never sure if everything had to switch back to online classes. This semester is now much more relaxed, students and lecturers alike are happy to be back on site. But it can be said that everyone is a little more careful. Most also keep their distance in the premises and do not sit directly next to each other. Nevertheless, I believe that we could all take something away from the online lessons. For example, as a commuter, I particularly appreciate the fact that consultation hours with lecturers via Zoom are now common.
The pandemic has been a big challenge for the University of Basel – on many fronts. The safety and health of university members was the highest priority. But at the same time, it was also important to be able to continue my studies and continue my research whenever possible. In this extraordinary situation, students and lecturers showed great flexibility.
I am proud of how quickly everyone adapted to the unknown situation in the spring of 2020. It is also gratifying that as an organization we were able to use our experience to improve processes and get through the pandemic in an agile and targeted manner. And of course the University of Basel has also undergone a digitization push from which all members of the university can benefit.
Despite all the enthusiasm about the effectiveness of zoom meetings and the benefits of working from home: a face-to-face course or an on-site meeting simply has a different quality. I don’t just mean communication, which is much more multi-faceted on-site than through a screen. I also mean the interpersonal level, these spontaneous meetings, short conversations by the coffee machine. Or sitting together spontaneously when someone has an idea and needs to discuss it quickly. Now that all of this is possible again, we’re just realizing how much we’ve missed it over the past two years!
So I’m very happy that we can all meet again in the dorm. And it seems it’s not just me. I see happy, carefree people at the University of Basel who want to enjoy life to the fullest again without restrictions. However, I also understand those who enjoy their new freedoms with a little more caution and continue to protect themselves with masks. It is important that we treat each other with understanding and respect.