Dear students and staff at NMBU,
We are definitely in an unfamiliar situation. At times it’s almost surrealistic. Most likely your partner, your kids or your parents are around you all day long. Or maybe you sit alone day in and day out. Either way, I am sure you miss your fellow students or your colleagues, just like I do.
Most of us experience rather monotonous days now. We sit in our ”home office” gazing at the screen, following online web meetings or lectures. At the same time we are overwhelmed by information about the pandemic and its consequences and more or less well founded analysis of how this pandemic will shape our future. I have contributed to this myself in this blog. I promise: No scaremongering.
My most profound experience last year was the welcoming of new students. It was very encouraging to meet hopeful new students in this setting, to sense their heartfelt enthusiasm and expectations. Unfortunately, this year’s matriculation will be different.
You students are possibly more preoccupied with the current difficult academic situation in general. We’ve taken some measures to adjust, more are under way. The situation is difficult, but we try to do our best all the time. I promise that we will do everything in our power to make the best out of the situation, to normalize our academic lives as soon as the government allows, and that we’ll keep you informed. As I write in the above mentioned blog (in Norwegian only), one of our most important tasks is to take every opportunity that this crisis offers to learn something new and to develop as a university. Hang in there! And stay tuned at nmbu.no/student.
In times like these, it’s of great importance to maintain some structure in our everyday lives. To get out of bed at normal hours and try the best we can to work regular hours. I am aware that some of you lack the opportunity to work from home. But try the best you can to stay active in spite of this. Get some exercise. Be creative and treat yourself and others kindly. Have patience with those around you if they seem annoyed. They have their reasons, but you are not the one to blame.
Staff and students at the Faculty of veterinary medicine are going through especially tough times, as the start of next semester can’t take place at Campus Ås as planned. The relocation has already required a huge effort from those involved. We have good reasons to be sorry about yet another postponement. I am impressed by your efforts and your good attitude and how well you all deal with this situation in general. You all deserve a big thank you!
I can promise you all that also the management work hard these days. We’ve had to make many changes on short notice. But not without quality assurance, of course. All changes must be legally valid, and we must develop guidelines that are precise, fair and waterproof. There are many different views and interests to consider throughout a process like this one. In my opinion, we’ve performed well and efficiently. The emergency crisis team is doing a great job. As do the deans and all their staff. Everyone at NMBU contributes by adjusting to a new form of everyday life and by showing patience and thoughtfulness. Thank you all for that!
I encourage all leaders to be extra vigilant during this crisis. Many of us are having a hard time coping with the situation. Some struggle more than others. Be considerate and reach out to people. Arrange meetings with two or more participants, with or without a certain agenda. We all miss our colleagues. We will meet again, as soon as we’re allowed to. Hang in there! There’s light at the end of the tunnel.
I wish you all a very nice weekend!