Nieuws - 1 juli 2019

“Too hot to work rule” wanted

While nature fully awakes and summer kicks in with a friendly heat wave, study and work duties are not ready for holidays yet… Our blogger Donatella Gasparro on mixed feelings about high temperatures, stuck in Radix 10 hours a day and about keep on going.

© Sven Menschel

As I sit in the garden ready to roll up my sleeves and do some computer work in a nice scenery, a lot is happening around me. The tall old cherry trees attract tons of birds to enjoy the ripe fruits. From the oak I’m sitting under, an occasional rain of various unknown insects falls on the table and on my clothes. The world is far from silent. The frogs in the pond are restlessly shouting mysterious messages at each other round-the-clock, even in the middle of the night. I stop typing: the neighbour’s dog came to visit me. The messages are clear: summer is here.

I bet we all have mixed feelings about these high temperatures. Even being in the garden in the shade of a tree, at 8 p.m., is not fresh enough. I thought I left the 30+ degrees behind three summers ago, when I left Italy.  And these temperatures were one of the things I left quite happily (I’m more of a spring creature, so to speak). But I was wrong. Also, back there, university shuts down for most of the summer, like all other schools. It’s just hot, so you don’t do things, you go to the sea.

Hot is fine - in principle. But it’s a little bit less fine when you’re stuck in Radix 10 hours a day. Or Forum, or Orion, or whichever university building - you get the picture. And you have to think straight. Write, look at numbers. That’s not fine. I’ve always dreamt of some collective unwritten rule that would allow people to just stay home in cases like: strong bike-flipping winds; tempests; ice; 30+ degrees. You know, a ‘due to force majeure’ kind of rule.

At the same time, this heat wave kicks in right at the end of the academic year. Exams to prepare, things to finalise, thesis parts to be written soon in order to allow yourself some kind of holiday… So no, forced anticipated break is not really ideal. What to do, then? Keep going. Have lunch breaks on campus lawns pretending to enjoy the heat for 30 minutes. You can do it. Just two more weeks. If you’re lucky.