My first year
When I started studying at Hult in September 2020, the London campus was still open and classes were being held on campus. It was a hybrid setup: some studying in person, others studying from home. Sometimes the classes were almost full. It would feel like a normal class for the most part. Other times there were fewer students. I remember having a class where there were only three people: a classmate, the professor’s assistant, and me. The professor had to stay home, because he was at greater risk if he caught Covid. Nevertheless, when I look back, that was one of my favorite classes.
Then, the second semester came. Classes were only online. I am grateful that the campus could stay open. I didn’t have to bring my little brother to class with me, which I may have had to do from time to time if I was attending classes from home. Those were times I’ll never forget. Trying to get to campus early in the morning to get the best spot before anyone else. Learning the important skill of keeping our mask on at all times (turns out to be a hard soft skill).
I know many students who may have felt that they missed out on their first year at Hult. But I know many who have been able to form powerful bonds, take meaningful action toward their goals, and feel part of the Hult community. Our first year of school during the pandemic is an experience unique to everyone who has been through it. Getting through it is something to be proud of—not something to despair. And for those who are joining us this September: the Hult community cannot wait to welcome you.
Re-opening in London
Since the 19th of July 2021, most restrictions have been eased in London. The first thing I did on the weekend: stayed at home to input data into a spreadsheet. Exciting, I know. I can feel your envy.
I was still midway through my internship and was working from home. Although I had weekends off, I decided to be a good boy and do extra work on the side, such as writing this blog post (which does not feel like work). But, as I could see from the flood of messages on the WhatsApp group that I’m a part of, people were ready to go. Let’s go for a drink, let’s go for dinner, let’s go do anything except stay at home counting the number of shows we watched during the lockdown. No more virtual dating, no more virtual partying, no more putting “virtual” in front of words we use to describe things we do in person.
Of course, I don’t stay indoors all day and night. I go out for a walk or two, and to buy something to eat, when my stomach reminds me that I need it. When I do go out it feels different. There are more people, no masks, people walking closer to one another together. It feels almost normal (whatever that used to look like).
Getting used to the “new normal”
I’m about to head to the store. I take my wallet, my keys … and a mask. I walk out, and people are staring at me. Like I’m sick. Which makes sense. I am wearing a mask when I do not need to anymore. It’s not that I am extra cautious. Wearing a mask whenever I go out has become a habit. I will probably stop taking masks with me, eventually.
When I went with my little brother to get some ice cream from the ice cream truck driving by, we walked through a market filled with stalls for everything you can imagine: desserts, decorations, etc.
What caught my attention was a stand that was selling children’s books. A sign displayed white letters on a red background, advising potential victims/customers to sanitize their hands before and after curating their books. I remembered the meetings I had at work where we evaluated the vaccination efforts. It will take some time for children to get vaccinated to the same level as the rest of the population. Just goes to show that it will take some time for things to be truly safe for everyone.