This year, the opening of the academic year at the Tampere University was celebrated virtually. Our Chair Annika Nevanpää gave a speech in the ceremony, read it below!
Dean, help desk person, post-doctoral research fellow, student. Hey you, new and old members of our community. I’m Annika Nevanpää, chairperson of TREY and today, on behalf of the student union, I wish to speak to you for a moment.
I will not give corona a space in this speech. I was once taught to put my resources into things that I can change and that are important to me. I will not feel sorry for this situation. Instead, I appeal to you to change serious matters around the pandemic.
The latest studies have shown that every third student suffers mental health symptoms. A well-being survey from last spring stated concerning results about the students’ feeling of loneliness and high levels of stress during remote studying.
You, you who can’t get up in the morning, you’re not alone. I can only say that it doesn’t last forever and for the bottom of my heart I wish you strength.
You, you who can’t seem to find a friend and to find your place in here, you’re not alone. I hope you have the possibility to explore the endless activities this community has to offer and to find a group of people that makes you feel welcome.
You, you who feel anxious when others seem to go through anything with zero effort and you keep pushing your limits day to day, you are not alone. For you, my friend, I want to tell you that I’m a 5th year student nowhere near my bachelors degree and I guess I’m fine with that. I want you to understand that every study path is unique and equally fine.
You, you who think you’re doing quite alright. Know that well-being, relationships and happiness takes effort. I need you to keep on taking care of yourself and if you have the energy, please try to help those who can’t.
During these times we have learned our mantra: wash your hands, keep distance.
Keep doing that.
What I also need you to do is to go out, keep in touch with your friends and family and enjoy things. Do whatever those live love laugh Pinterest boards tell you to.
I need you to stay human to stay sane.
The society around us changes more slowly than one would wish. Last spring, articles on people who graduated with ten Laudatur grades filled the news, and a young person who was facing unemployment was praised for instead being active and becoming a sole trader. Some might remember when the summer before last, students were dismissed after they reminded the public that we, too, have a right to rest. Even the Finnish Ministry of Finance with their preliminary budget seemed to think that students have at least 36 hours in their day.
I ask you to think about your attitude towards yours and others’ ability to cope. Do you give time for yourself and others when there is need? Do you have the patience in the middle of rush to stop to listen and understand what others have to say, and can you look in the mirror or make others face it when it is needed?
If this year hasn’t already stopped you to think about things that are important to you, I ask that you now mark that on your calendar. Take yourself some time to think what would improve your well-being and make room for that. Whether it’s building a community within your association, researching to solve devious problems or improving yourself in a way that suits you.
To all of you who thought that you don’t have time for this, I want to remind you that well-being is also a cornerstone of productivity. In your work and your studies, think about the reasons that brought you to your current position. What do you want to accomplish? Why do you want to wake up every day to do what you do?
If you can’t find answers in what you currently do, take advantage of this multidisciplinary university and do something else. Don’t do what others say you should do. Move to Lapland for a year if you feel like it. We live in a country where it’s possible to express oneself pretty well, so do yourself a favour and try something. If Lapland seems a bit too far away, just try to take at least one course on a subject that is far away from your own field. And this tip also goes to the personnel, study and be perpetual students!
When you find your passion, remember that you achieve nothing if you sacrifice yourself. A burnt-out person won’t change the world.
Oh how I wish that I could see all of you right now, together at the Tampere-talo. The audience gives you energy and the atmosphere makes you feel festive, but I try to imagine that. I try to imagine that I can speak directly to you, who are sitting on the bus on your way to Hervanta. Directly to you, who are stretching your back while standing on your diy standing desk in the middle of your tiny studio. We, students, staff, management, professors and all the rest, we are the university who gives energy to each other.
We debate, we challenge, we trial and we error. We stand for science, democracy and equality. We fight for a better tomorrow with all the perspectives one can only imagine.
It is a pleasure to start yet another term in this community. Let’s make this the best possible together, and let’s not let one virus keep us down.
Have fun, stay in contact and, most importantly, stay safe.
Thank you and have a great year!