20 of 2020: Jelle switched careers and became a dad

We have all had an strange and special year. Time to reflect on the status quo. 20 people with links to Ghent University were selected at random. They tell us what 2020 meant to them, what they will carry over to next year and above all: what they hope for in 2021.

Jelle Van Goethem graduated in 2010 with a master degree in history from Ghent University. After an advanced master’s programme in business economics and teacher training programme, he spent seven years working as a teacher. Until this year, when he changed jobs. 2020 was also a milestone in his private life, being the year his first son was born.

Jelle Van Goethem - Picture by Thomas NolfWhat did 2020 mean to you?

“In August, it was one year since I started work as a ‘detached’ teacher. The idea is that you are ‘loaned’ to a business, which leads to some interesting cross-pollination. I spent a year at meemoo, in the Education Archives. They provide teachers with digitised audio-visual content from museums and public or commercial broadcasting networks. Such fragments are certainly handy in times of remote education. My role was to select fragments that were interesting for first grade history, STEM, and people and society. In September I was offered a permanent position at meemoo. I fancied something new, so I seized the opportunity. Even so, it was quite a dilemma, as I also enjoyed teaching. It felt strange to be forced to work from home very shortly afterwards.”

Jelle Van Goethem - Picture by Thomas Nolf

Of which accomplishment are you most proud in the past year?

“The birth of my first son! That had an enormous impact. He was born in July. The last months of the pregnancy were during the lockdown. It was such a pity that we could welcome so few visitors, and that we unable to share the preparations – it’s nearly D-day! – as much as we’d imagined. Once he was born we actually found more advantages: we weren’t immediately faced with a mass of visitors in the hospital. Working from home meant we could enjoy plenty of peace and quiet, with just the three of us, which certainly had its charms. My son is a very happy chap. Not the best sleeper, but wonderful in every other way.”

Who do you most admire at Ghent University?

“I have had lots of really good professors, so it’s tricky to choose just one. I enjoy keeping in touch with friends who work at Ghent University, including Hans Blomme. That means I’m still involved in the university where I spent so many years.”

What do you hope for in 2021?

“A solution for corona, so that everyone can return to the office and get together without restriction. Above all, it’s so annoying not to be able to see friends and family, or when it’s allowed, having to be really careful. I hope we can return to normal.”

What do you wish other people at Ghent University in 2021?

“Lots of people might go travelling. However, we couldn’t do that, because my wife was pregnant. Everything went smoothly in my professional life. So above all, I think I’d warn the people close to me who caught the disease to watch out. And I’d really make the most of meeting up with friends and family.”

What do you wish other people at Ghent University in 2021?

“Good health, of course. Hopefully an effective vaccine and some normality.”

Read the other interviews with 20 of 2020 at Dare To Think

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