What a time to be alive! One year ago, I was in Boston starting a whole new life full of opportunities and most importantly full of dreams. My only concern was that I was still unsure where to spend reading week: New York? Texas? Bahamas? Boston? Back in France?
I started writing my first articles for the Gazette about international affairs, making friends from all around the world. I was walking along Charles River listening to “Living In America” by James Brown, lip-syncing; just being the happiest man alive.
What can I say? I’m pretty far from that now. 3,269 miles to be exact. I’m in London, still writing for the Gazette but in a really different context, listening to “Penny Lane” by the Beatles. I’m not alone anymore whilst walking in the streets; my mask is with me everywhere. And reading week is not as exciting as it was with a 14 days quarantine in almost every country.
How did we end up in that situation? Well, I don’t think anyone has a real explanation. Some say a guy thought it was a good idea to taste a bat soup, some say the virus comes from a Chinese laboratory, and I even heard some disturbed people talking about a conspiracy by the World’s Leaders.
It all started when we got back from our winter holidays, it was supposed to be a small plague just like flu, we were laughing about it in lounges, but I bet none of us thought it would bring us here one year later. During the 6 weeks of class that led us to reading week, it got bigger but who cared? Not me. Until we all received that fateful email saying that all classes would be online. I was in San Francisco for the week with my best friend and that’s the moment we realised that it was the end of Hult as we knew it, at least for the semester. It started: calls with the family trying to know what would be best, stay or go back, packing, taking a flight back home for those who could, and not even having the time to say bye to some of our friends. I know it sounds a bit dramatic but that’s the way I felt. I was really disappointed my first year in the States had to end that way.
I came back in France with a bitter taste of my first year of university. But I got to spend time with my family, more than I thought… We had a quarantine of over 3 months. What a weird feeling to live alone for 7 months, 4,000 miles away from your parents, with a 6-hour window to call them because of jet lag and then having them 24/7 at home. I spent my 18th birthday at home, with my dad, my mom and that’s it. Not the way I expected it to be but Zoom made up for it.
However, I started to wonder what would be best for me next year. I really wanted to go back to Boston because that’s where my friends are, and the city is just beautiful. But on the other hand, I had no idea what the situation would be in the United States in 6 months. I thought London was closer to my family and in those time when everything can happen, it was wiser for me to stay close to the EU.
Like most of the people I thought it was a perfect time to adopt new good habits: working out from home, go running, study more effectively, etc. I thought I could make the best of this time. Fair to say it lasted 3 months and maybe one week. As soon as I could go out, I did. I took the time to see my friends and I really thought life was going back to normal.
Summer started and life was good. Bars reopened, parties started again and in the south of France it almost felt like it had never happened. I went to concerts, boating, camping, hiking, partying. I was almost enjoying summer classes online because I was with my friends in France taking classes in London!
When summer ended it started over again, quarantines everywhere, mandatory masks everywhere, social distancing. People are talking more and more about a second wave if we continue behaving this way. I don’t want this to happen again, but it is hard to respect all those rules when we already spent 6 months away from the life we had. I want the student life as I knew it a year ago back. And I know the best way to obtain it is to follow the rules.