This Spring CEU students had to complete and submit their master’s theses remotely for the second year in a row. But CEU alumni were there to help: more than 70 alumni volunteered for the “thesis buddies’ program, now in its second year; 54 students and alumni were paired as buddies from April to June.
CEU switched to full online instruction midway through last Fall semester, in compliance with Covid regulations in Austria and Hungary. Again, students were faced with the strain of online education. By this Spring, many were suffering Zoom fatigue, Covid infection and other stressors, making it difficult to complete their theses.
That’s when CEU alumni stepped up. Again.
Dozens of alumni, spanning many generations and CEU departments, volunteered to help. Serving as unofficial advisors, they offered encouragement and expertise to help their student buddies meet deadlines, kick writer’s block, and draft stronger papers.
Students benefitted. One said: “My thesis buddy was very encouraging and helped me a lot to believe in my strength to finish the thesis. Especially in the conditions of isolation of covid-19 and remote learning, it was a much needed communication.”
Alumni gained as well. “It was a wonderful experience to connect again with a CEU student after 12 years of being graduated,” said one. “For many reasons, CEU was one of the most incredible experiences of my life so I feel honored to be thesis buddy, it gave me a sense of support within my CEU community.”
For many alumni, particularly those working in academia, this was also the first time they volunteered for CEU. (See what alumnus Borislav Buljic (NATI ’16) had to say about why he volunteered as a buddy. See video.)
Whether it is to feel connected to CEU again or to share the common experience of writing a thesis with a student, alumni have come through for students since the beginning of the pandemic. Although launched in response to an immediate need, the overwhelmingly positive reaction from alumni and students has ensured the continuation of the program in coming years.
HUGE THANKS to all alumni who volunteered their time and talent as a Thesis Buddy in academic year 2020-21.