Is stay-at-home studying and social distancing bringing you down? Stay positive and social, even in these difficult times. With that motto, Tilburg University has created a Facebook group where students can find their daily dose of social interaction and some much-needed distraction.
The Netherlands is entering its fourth week of intelligent lockdown. Studying from home is the new reality, which it will continue to be for months. Annelieke Koster, a program manager at Academic Forum and the administrator of the newly launched Facebook group ‘Tilburg University – Together online’, sees that everyday student life is marked by boredom.
“The first week after the government’s coronavirus measures had gone into effect, students were struggling with boredom,” she says. “But digital education has gotten off to a good start, and students have plenty to do again. However, they are busy doing solitary activities: reading and listening to recorded lectures. All forms of interaction, such as having discussions in class, is obviously lacking right now.”
Although sparking deep discussions in the comment section may not be the main purpose of the ‘Together online’ Facebook group, Koster does hope that the newly launched platform can partly resolve the lack of interaction faced by students. “We can support each other in this group with positive news and tips. International students, whose social network is often smaller, can also connect with each other in this group.”
Even though the group is barely a day old, tips are already being shared. The university’s Sports Center has shared an abundance of home workouts, and museum De Pont has shared a link through which many artworks can be viewed online. If you want to share your own tip, what should you contribute? “No videos of lectures or other digital education material. There’s already plenty of that available online.”
So what then? The possibilities are endless: “Study associations and student organizations will publish updates about their events and activities. And positive news articles and new initiatives will be shared in the group, for example.” In need of a little positivity or simply feel like socializing? The group is set to public.