On Campus

“Bocconi life”: are we back?

Reading time: 7 minutes

Jumping back and forth, what is the direction we are taking, which is our destination? Let’s hear it directly from Bocconi people.

Strolling around on campus, excitement is tangible and sort of enlivens all the areas around University. “We’re back” we hear many people say: but where is that “normalcy” we have all been longing for?

Words like “vaccination” and “green pass” are things we are surrounded by on a daily basis. Finally, it is possible to see a sort of light at the end of the tunnel and we can breathe a sigh of relief, but can the reality we are currently living in be referred to as a proper “return to normality”? Or has the recovery from the pandemic led us to a completely “newness” we have to adapt to?

We decided to interview some Bocconi students so as to be able to gather their perspective on this topic, asking them the following questions:

  1. “We’re back”: how do you feel about this statement? In your opinion is it a real return to normalcy or is it a slightly different context we must adapt to?
  2. For more than one year we have had the possibility to follow the lectures online in any place and at any time. How do you feel about leaving your comfort zone and changing once again your way of learning?
  3. Concerning exams in presence: do you feel scared if you think about them or do you enjoy this aspect of “normal” university life?

Emiliano Zaza, CLEF 2nd year

(1) I don’t think a lot changed from last semester, which I lived in presence (restrictions permitting). Since I’m attending my second year, I’ve never really had the chance to see with my eyes what it concretely was a “normal” university context.  I suppose that coming back to “normality” – oxymoronically – will be the real change we’ll have to adapt to.

(2) Since I find the online lessons less entertaining than the ones attended in presence, I am very happy about the possibility to follow classes on campus. I feel good leaving my comfort zone so that I can get to live the most interesting part of the “uni life”: meeting new people and expanding our contacts net. For what I’ve had the chance to see, Bocconi is attended by a lot of different people, and getting to know their thoughts can really enrich our minds and positively change our views.

(3) I’m very happy to start taking exams in person. I suppose that seeing people around me will have a different impact than the one taking the exam alone in my room had (with the constant concern that something might go wrong with Respondus or on my computer). I think that seeing people around me during the exam will reduce the anxiety that I used to feel, alienated in the room I took the online exams in, surrounded by the same four walls, alone with my thoughts and struggles concerning what I was facing. The negative aspect is that I lived my last winter exams session at home with my beloved ones, and this year I’ll have less time to spend with them, but that’s what off-site students have always lived and we were prepared for this, weren’t we?

(1) I believe it is a slightly different situation with respect to the one we lived last year (and also with regards to the one before Covid), as vaccines have enabled a more relaxed and sort of friendlier environment. I feel like I have more opportunities to live the Bocconi experience to its fullest.

(2) I’m honestly glad. I need to follow everything straight away to keep up the pace – being in presence creates a more realistic learning environment with respect to the online one.

3) I’m both scared and happy: scared because it’s for sure going to be different – I got used to online exams now – but I believe it’s going to be more real, full of emotions.

Antonio D’Onofrio, CLEF 3rd year

(1) I am very happy to be on campus again and I feel like we’ve almost come back to normalcy. However, I am aware that we have to play our part and respect the rules in order to “end” the pandemic.

(2) Thanks to the blended mode, I never really lost the connection with the other students and professors. However, I see the pandemic as a chance for university to evolve and I think “smart” teaching methods represent the future of learning.

(3) I’ve never really been a huge fan of online exams, they’ve always appeared to me as unnatural. Even though it can be scary sometimes, I can’t wait to experience the feeling of being in class again during an exam, as this is “part of the game”.

Lorenzo Cundari, CLEAM 3rd year

(1) I am very enthusiastic since I feel that the atmosphere on campus is very different from last year. The distribution of vaccines makes socialisation possible and safe.

(2) As far as I am concerned, the return to in-presence lectures has not changed my study method . Nevertheless, I am experiencing a sort of disruption in my daily routine, since I believe that following the lectures on campus with the same intensity I used to follow them from home is pretty hard. At the same time, I think that, from a social point of view, being fully on campus is an opportunity for growth far more significant.

(3) I am not frightened of in-presence exams, I actually prefer them. In fact, during my first year I had the opportunity to experience this exam mode and I remember that sharing the moments before the exam with my colleagues helped me to ease the stress. Moreover, I can’t deny that I am relieved I am not going to experience technical problems during the exams anymore!

Pietro Cusumano, FINANCE 1st year

(1) I am very happy to be back on campus, even if I don’t believe this is the normalcy we would have expected to live after two years from the start of the pandemic. In a simplistic way, having an empty seat between me and my colleague during the lectures, is something that expresses very well how this is not a proper “go back in time” kind of situation.

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(2) I think that some habits brought by the pandemic should not be considered totally negative. Among them, at least in my case, online lectures and the availability of recordings throughout the semester turned out to be very useful, since I was conducting a full-time internship and I didn’t have the possibility to follow them live. Obviously, following the lectures on campus is sometimes more effective from a technical and psychological point of view.

(3) Doing the exams in person is not something that scares me. Rather, I am concerned about the uncertainty about the delivery mode and the change in the structure of the exam that could be very different from the one we had to adapt to during the pandemic.

Alessandra Martina, PPA 1st year

(1) To be on campus and to meet new people is something invaluable. When I am on campus I just try to enjoy as much as possible the opportunities offered by our University, obviously always respecting the rules in place in order to avoid the spread of Covid.

(2) Even if I have to adapt again to a new way of learning, I think that this change in lecture-delivery mode is a sign of “return to normalcy” that we can’t ignore. Then, at least for me, the kind of routine we used to have in the past year and a half was not really my comfort zone and can be easily forgotten.

(3) I am not scared at all, rather I see that as an opportunity to totally enjoy my life as an on campus student. Besides, I can’t stand the online way of taking exams, since it doesn’t make me feel fully at ease.

So, what do these interviews reveal?

Even with slightly different ways of expressing it, all the students interviewed agreed on the “bliss” of being on campus again – despite all the restrictions that are still in place.

Although interviewees are optimistic towards the future, some of them say that the real “normalcy” has not come yet. On this point, we have something to say. It is possible that the normalcy we were used to will never come back again. It is misleading to say that we are “back”, since we can only go forward and what has been rarely comes back — we run towards new kinds of routines, towards new habits and towards new inclinations which redefine what we have been and shape who we are going to be.

As a demonstration of this statement, we would like to highlight that these interviews have been conducted through digital platforms – even if the possibilities to meet in person were present.  This made us understand that, after the pandemic, the great power that technological tools have if they are put at our service cannot be underestimated anymore.

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There is a shared feeling of hope towards the possibility of creating connections with other students, classmates and professors – a possibility that wasn’t lost, but for sure was diminished with the virtual kind of university that took most of the “college life” last year.

Moreover, a sort of agreement on how everyone should be flexible enough in their mindsets so as to be able to adapt – or, at least, try to adapt – to every kind of situation, even the most complicated and demanding ones.

We live in a situation in which we all have to cooperate so as to reach results and concrete change: many students agree on how everyone should “play their part” so as to ensure the concrete possibility of reaching a new “normalcy” in which we can feel at ease as much as we can.

Author profile

A CLEF student with an insatiable hunger for knowledge. Very passionate about finance, political economy, social sciences and classical music.

Author profile

Just an average guy that read “On the road” a bit too soon and was led to tending to fall in love too much with too many things. In Bocconi I am studying International Politics and Government.

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