As the lockdown is being gradually lifted across Europe, I have to admit that it was a tough few weeks for everyone. Since the beginning of the pandemic, different strategies were taken by different countries to cope with the outbreak of this virus. Sweden, where I am currently located for my first year of studies, adopted a more lenient approach and thus, became the centre of much debate .. I am not going ot join either side of the debate but instead will try to offer my own experience of living here. I hope this would be useful and interesting for all of you, considering Uppsala University or KTH Royal Institute of Technology as your study locations!
At the beginning of the crisis, universities were shut down and we were told that the classes shifted to online mode. Some of my friends decided to go back to their home countries and spend the quarantine with families. I, however, decided to stay and therefore avoided the lockdown in my home country. Along with my fellow classmates here, we were able to enjoy the outside (especially the wonderful Swedish springtime) as well as some group activities outside both for studies and leisure. I must, of course, highlight that we have followed the official guidelines, respecting social distancing as well as following common sense. Although, the library at the KTH was closed, the fantastic city library of Stockholm stayed open which meant that I could access required resources for my studies. Additionally, gyms and swimming pools were working, which I personally found helpful to keep active and clear-headed during these difficult times. Again, I must highlight that distancing and extra measures were implemented to reduce risks.
To be honest with you, we had some very interesting activities planned around the spring term, like attending some challenging hackathons and as well as annual EIT InnoEnergy event for students, Connect. I was particularly looking forward to Connect as this is where all EIT InnoEnergy Master’s students from different programmes meet up over the course of two days. However, the world is full of uncertainties. Thanks to already blended learning within the programmes, we were quick to adapt and not allow Covid-19 to get in the way of our career prospects! Stephen Hawking has a precise definition of intelligence that I cannot agree with more at this moment, he says: “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” I am therefore so proud of all of my fellow EIT InnoEnergy students who have adapted to digital learning, online networking and even remote internships!
I guess that life cannot return totally to normal right now but this does not mean that we should postpone everything until ‘tomorrow’. If the situation has taught me anything is that the skills that I have learnt during Career Impact Programme, such as resilience and ability to adjust are bearing fruits already! I for one refuse to let this situation to affect my education and career developments and encourage you to join me on this – so are you with me?
By Hoda Ataee, Master’s in Smart Electrical Networks and Systems student