The beginning of the end

In my last entry – which (as must have been virtually impossible for any reader not to notice) somewhat unfortunately, although arguably quite inevitably, suffered in its subject matter, even more so in its tone, from an at that time already relatively long-standing dejection of its writer – I concluded, possibly rather surprisingly to some, with a slight turn in mood after the several purely pessimistic paragraphs; such a twist may, perhaps only with the best of wills in the world, be construed if not as an utter turnabout, then at the very least as a heartening change in attitude – a positive one, that is. — I mentioned the upcoming academic year and my happening to have had a good feeling about it.

The then still upcoming year has now been under way for quite some time, a considerable portion of it actually already being nothing more than a matter of the past – regrettably in the very same manner as all the merely naïvely futile hopes for a reversion to the standard form of study to which we were once accustomed…

What was barely a speculative notice before summer has in the meantime turned into an almost perfectly established (though in many ways imperfect) daily practice: the distance form of teaching has been implemented as the exclusive delivery method for the vast majority of courses – the so-called hybrid teaching which aimed to allow for small groups of students on campus eventually did not endure and finally also had to yield.

Under such circumstances, in which our physical presence at the university is not only unrequired but really undesirable, it would not be meaningful to return to Scotland at all – and so, I scramble through my last year at Edinburgh far away from Edinburgh, from the embrace of my homeland. — Admittedly, it accounts for a bitter-sweet experience: we are doomed to wander between a myriad of platforms for the weekly seances at our screens – but the regrettable forfeit of academic environment is, after all, redeemed by an unprecedented closeness to family during the semester…

Ultimately, how university students are affected by the current restrictions (naturally apart from those pursuing a degree in medicine) is fairly inconsequential – we somehow simply have to cope with the multifarious difficulties that distance learning brings along with itself, and cope with them we will; it is the small children who hardly got a chance to even begin to take against school, as well as those who need embark on preparations for their secondary school leaving examinations, whose interest ought to be factored into the next steps.

I bid farewell to you all with a modest appeal to follow the categorical imperative.

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