An 18-year-old student at the Free University of Brussels shared on social networks her feelings about the isolation of confinement. “I wrote it on a whim after yet another attack of anxiety and unstoppable sobs,” she told our colleagues at RTL Info.
Victoria’s text, who is in first grade and studies psychology, was shared overwhelmingly on social media.
Good morning all. I never thought I would do this, a public text on Facebook, but I feel the need, the usefulness and above all, the urgency. I am 18 years old and I am a student. And I speak on behalf of all the students. I finished my rhetoric remotely. I was not entitled to my ball, my show, or my Rhaeto trip. I took a bite of my quid and told myself it was for my own good.
I was deprived of my friends for the first time. We were asked to be patient, to be good citizens, to stay at home. We did it. From March to June, we did it. We were brave. We found occupations. It was fine, bright sunshine, we could have online lessons outside. We downloaded bullshit, we called each other on Facetime, we cooked, we took up sports. It went. My life had come to a halt, the bars and clubs had suddenly disappeared. But it was okay. We counted down the days, we waited for the national councils. We were all in front of our television.
And one day, finally, I got to see my friends again. It was around July / August. We were even able to go on vacation, it was allowed, we could decompress. The bars were reopened, we all saw each other, happy.
Then I started my first year at university. It’s stressful, back to school. We tell you that it’s not easy, that you have to hang on, it’s new, it’s great, it takes organization. I think I went to the audience for three weeks.
Afterwards, it was forbidden to me. Everything suddenly closed. More bars, more friends, more shops, more restaurants. I started to see new material, never before seen, from a distance. With Teams meetings where the sound was bad, where the teachers didn’t have good microphones, where the slides didn’t scroll, got stuck, where you had to stay in front of a computer for hours listening (at least trying) a new one Classes. I had pain in my eyes.
I lost all social contact, I went from active to passive life, in bed, doing nothing. I was forbidden to see my friends a second time. It’s been 3 months since I can no longer see them, even though they were part of my daily life. Every day I saw them, and they took them away from me. And right now, if I dare to see 3 at home, we risk being denounced and having fines. And dear eh the fine.
So I am home. Everyday. In front of a computer. I suffer from lack of social contact. I suffer that people do not think of me, student. Always say that the problem is us young people. That we are irresponsible. Stupid, stupid, rebellious. However, most of them try to comply with the rules to get out of the unbearable train of LEC at all costs: “get up to study to sleep”
The only noise I hear is rain on my window, or a barking dog, the only thing I see is the view from my bedroom window. For others, it’s 10m2 of kot or studio, the view of which stops at the apartment opposite. So yes, I’m going for a walk, to take the air. But by dint of walking, we get tired of it.
I don’t know what university is. I don’t know what folklore is, baptism, all that doesn’t mean anything to me. I am experiencing my first blockade, in conditions where the stress is double. Morale is heavy, very heavy. Because you have to motivate yourself even if the conditions are deplorable. Nothing motivates you. Nothing.
You get up for nothing. You see no one. You feel lonely. I did not celebrate my birthday. 18 years old, however, should be celebrated. I should have organized a big party, with a lot of people, we should have hugged, kissed. But none of that.
I see the comments coming “You avoided the war, think about your great-grandparents”. I’m thinking about it. But I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about something I’m going through, me, which is slowly killing me. I’m not talking about war, I don’t want to compare. Because what we experience is incomparable.
The students suffer from isolation, from the lack of their friends and have been for months. We suffer, we try to express it, but nothing changes. We are deprived of going to university, but our exams are face-to-face, with well 300 people in the audience. Why ? Explain to me why. A student broke out of the window in Lyon, are you waiting for that to happen here in Belgium as well to perhaps take us into consideration? To perhaps realize how much our mental health is at risk?
We are fighting to be happy now. I think that happiness is gone for many. We are fighting. But we are losing ground. The urgency is there. We must save the students. They must feel listened to, understood, and above all considered. Save us. Because for many we collapse.
And it is time to react, there is still time. Find us solutions. Offer us some perspectives. Stop talking about numbers, but talk about people. Do not hide us among numbers. We are ready to abide by your measures, but allow us to live again. I avoid talking about depression and suicides, but if it is still necessary to confine, further limit contacts, add measures, you should expect it … and you will have been warned Thank you To share (Of course I do not write this text to place our suffering above that of others, but to make people realize that it is not whims linked to the closing of boxes that affect us … understandably)