01 Jul Class of 2020
As a class, we definitely have a story to tell – countless of them. They are related to how we lived our last months at UWC and our graduation in the midst of the peculiar circumstances we are all living due to the pandemic.
Some of us remained on campus, call them “quaranteamies”, the UWCM Quaranteam. Most of us went from busy, sleep-deprived, and caffeine-addicted, to nearly graduated, “jobless” DP2s. Paul, the Head of Residence, gave us a little push to wake our inner UWC monster, and helped us organize what many wished was their subject package. Basketball, Albanian and African Dance, outdoor Yoga, Baking club, East African cooking club, Music Production, Gardening, Book club, Programming, and International Film club were just a few. These, the Ramadan celebrations, and the sun (a loyal friend during our quarantine) contributed massively to a healthier, more dynamic, and closer community. We also tried to express the initially predominant bittersweet, mixed feelings by receiving fake UWCM diplomas from an IB piñata. Quarantine on campus was definitely special, knowing that you or someone you deeply treasure could leave at any given point. We tried to make the most out of those days (starting from 11 am every day, of course, when brunch was), to make sure we would leave at peace knowing our sadness came from having spent the happiest memories with the most unique people.
And what happens when the happy, yet challenging moments of quarantine on campus are suddenly replaced by the old/new challenge of living again closely with your family after the UWC experience? This scenario is familiar to those of us that for different reasons decided to leave campus.
And so it goes, after experiencing the pain of saying goodbye to those that left before, now it is your turn to walk through the tunnel that will take you home -and that takes you away from your “Dutch home”. Eyes closed during the flight that luckily you found (probably one of the last ones available), you think that the last months at UWC feel like an unfinished drawing. Many friendships and relationships and projects that you just started to sketch between the grey walls of the school probably will never have colours. As we were starting to prepare for our departure from UWC, the three months we had left suddenly became a few days.
A few weeks later, the awaited graduation ceremony took place, and for the first time ever in the history of UWC Maastricht, we didn’t have a venue: we had hundreds of them. Miles away, some on campus and some others all over the world, the students from the class of 2020 sat in front of their laptops, living their last minutes before officially becoming Alumni. With beautiful dresses and perfectly tied ties (but free to wear whatever from the waist down), the school community felt tighter than ever. Even though we couldn’t hug or introduce our teachers to our families, we did point at the little squares on the screen, happy to see again the little faces of our friends, family for the last two years. Yes, we were far away, but we all could feel the magical bonds we had established on the Island (don’t tell anyone, but I did see some tears running down after the speeches!). We didn’t have the grad we were expecting, it was just a different one. But you know what? Get ready, get hyped… Because I swear our 10-year reunion will be a hundred times better than any Lab reggaeton night!
Miguel, Lia & Mariana (Alumni Reps Class of 2020)