That’s right, Soaristas. Not ‘Soaresers’ or ‘Soaresians’, but Soaristas, as we have been kindly briefed on the proper terminology by our Portuguese colleagues.
Welcome to the inaugural edition of this year’s La Voix du Collège - the only newspaper worth reading for College related issues!
As Rector Federica Mogherini stated in her opening speech: “We have made it”. Congratulations, you have arrived at the College of Europe, be it in Brugge or Warsaw. From now on, no matter what passport(s) you hold or which Department’s classes you follow, you are a Soarista. So embrace it and be proud of it. You have made it this far, now comes a whole new chapter!
Many of us have been dreaming about and planning for this for a long time now. Just try to think back for a second to the time when you were explaining your motivations in your application form, and the drive you felt within you.
Since receiving our letters of admission, we have been imagining how our lives will be different once we walk through these doors. The excitement of the unknown: what will we learn? Where will we live? Last but not least, who will we meet along the way?
And now here we are. Here to learn, explore, discover, and to battle our way through the Intranet’s announcements. To be a part of this collective learning process and of the “laboratory of the European Renaissance”, through a common passion for the European project and the canteen food.
And yet, something is different this year. It is in the air everywhere we go. Like the Jedi with the Force, we can feel it all around us. Each promotion is special in its own way, but we were considered special even before we were selected. Like every other university, we are the year of masks, online teaching and the myriad new rules that aim to limit the spread of the on-going global pandemic.
By the time you read this, most of us will have been through the institution known as ‘isolation’ and will have had at least two of those medical tests, during which an innocent looking ear cleaner is stuck straight through your nostril to tickle your brain. Regarding the latter, an unfortunate few are even approaching test numbers requiring two hands to count.
But this is the world in which we now live. Why? How? It doesn't really matter now. What does matter is that we need to adapt to this new reality. We need to assume responsibility and look out for each other. We need to comply with the health and sanitary rules for the wellbeing of everyone. To think about doing it is easy. To act is harder. But the hardest thing in the world is to act in accordance with your thinking. These words might sound heavy and may paint a somewhat bleak future for us, but do not despair: it is always darkest before the dawn. Follow the rules; stick to your tasks; do not fall for rumors; be kind, respectful, and supportive to others. We will come out together, stronger than ever before. That is the least we can do in exchange for the tireless work that we have seen from the professors, academic assistants, and every one of the staff members of the College.
Let’s not forget that since the beginning of the year, we have witnessed enormous understanding, solidarity, and support between us. In every residence, students were willing to cooperate and help those forced to stay in their rooms. This alone proves that indeed we are special and that, regardless of our differences, we collectively possess that famous l’espirit du Collège.
Let’s continue to make this specialness our own. Let’s make sure that it is driven by us, and not something forced upon on us by the external circumstances and surroundings. We need to stay creative to find ways to transform our academic year successfully. Our patron, Mário Soares, managed to do that as he helped to shape his country and paved the way for Portugal's entry into what is now known as the European Union. Our fate is in our hands now; it is up to us to show what we are capable of. Do not go gentle into that good night.
Here at La Voix du Collège, we will try our best to indeed be ‘la voix du collège’ and to live up to the previous Promotions. We have an exceptional team with great ideas for reports and articles around a range of College- and Brussels-related events, news, meetings, and more. Nonetheless, these are challenging times, and we can’t be everywhere physically. We need your help and contributions. Be our eyes and ears, and share your thoughts with us. If you wish to submit an article and/or express your opinion on a topic, please feel free to contact us on our Facebook page or at email@example.com.
Et pour les francophones, ne vous inquiétez pas. La langue française ne va nulle part non plus. Après tout, nous savons tous que le Collège est une institution bilingue.
All in all, we wish you the best of luck in fulfilling your dreams and desires, and in making the most out of your year at the College of Europe.
We hope to see you in person soon and we ask that you stick around for upcoming articles.
Stay safe and stay tuned.
All the best,
The Editorial Team of La Voix du Collège