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"When I study at home, I play the guitar or watch something on Netflix"

"When I study at home, I play the guitar or watch something on Netflix"

Photographer:Fotograaf: Simone Golob

XXL weeks UL

It's quiet at the University Library counter in Randwyck during the XXL weeks of the exam period, when both University Libraries have longer opening hours. “There are hardly any queries. Everyone is engrossed in their books,” student employee Mariska Custers explains. It may be quiet at the counter, but it is very busy in the study spaces. “Sometimes we find someone sitting on the stairs with a laptop,” says Marcel Spa, caretaker of the University Library in Randwyck. Observant visited both University Libraries to check out how hard people were studying, and to assess the business, the stress and the amounts of coffee.

Marleen Schlooz
Dutch Marleen Schlooz (21) is a master's student of Econometrics, but she is studying for an elective from the master's of Economics: Shocks and Cycles. In addition, she is working on her thesis, but that receives less attention during the exam period.
It is about 12 o'clock at the city centre library, where she has been since nine this morning. “I wasn't sure if it would be full.” Schlooz was able to find a good spot to study: “On the first floor, at one of the large tables with four places to sit. The entire floor is a no-talking zone. It was completely full at 10 o'clock. I only come here because I can concentrate better. You can get distracted too easily at home and then find yourself tidying up your room.”
She makes summaries and practises on old exams. “I will stay until about five o'clock,” says Schlooz. “It is Saturday and I want to enjoy the weekend a little.”

Nina Neumann
German Nina Neumann (20) was here at 9 o'clock too in order to claim a good study space. The first-year student of International Business is studying for the Mathematics and Statistics subject of Quantitative Methods 2 on the second floor of the city centre library. The exam is on 5 April. This is a stumbling block for many, but Neumann is not worried. “I’m confident that I’m going to make it. I’m pretty good with maths and I already acquired six bonus points from the quizzes we did in class. They add up to the points you earn during the exam; you need 27 to pass.” She makes a strict plan for the exam weeks: “Today I prepared the tutorial for next week, and next week I’ll start going over my summaries.”
Neumann is eating a chocolate roll from the University Library canteen. “I spend way too much money here,” she says laughing. “My own food is probably healthier, but I’m too lazy to prepare my food at home.”

Myrthe Eussen & Britt Op den Kamp
During the XXL weeks, third-year medical students Myrthe Eussen (20) and Britt Op den Kamp (21) can – just like in ‘normal’ weeks – only be found in the library to bridge the time between lectures or working groups. They prefer to do the real studying at home, mainly for practical reasons. “I speak out loud to myself when I'm studying,” says Eussen. “Like I'm giving myself a lecture. I used to do that in secondary school too. At the time, nobody else did that, but at Medicine I hear that other people are doing it too. Maybe it's a medicine thing.” Op den Kamp also realises from time to time that she is talking to herself. She prefers to study in the kitchen of her parents’ home in Stein. “It is so unnaturally quiet at the library; it has a cold atmosphere.”
So far, both of them have passed all the blocks in one go, so their tactics seem to work well. They put in long days leading up to the exams. Op den Kamp: “I get up early and work until eight o'clock in the evening.” They work according to a strict study plan. The next exam is about the locomotor apparatus, among other things, “so we will have to start on time. We will have to know all the nerves, bones, muscles, blood vessels and insertions,” they say. Op den Kamp: “It is a tough exam, because you really have to drum it all into your head. With other subjects, you can reason it out more.”
“While I'm studying, I try to eat healthy food, a lot of fruit,” says Eussen. “But if the going gets tough, I will grab a chocolate or a biscuit now and again.” Coffee consumption also increases during cramming: “four or five cups a day, normally I drink one or two cups.”

Bram Dela Haije
Bram Dela Haije (20), first-year student of Health Sciences, was only there “at half past eleven” this Tuesday. “I chose to have a lie-in. Normally I am at the University Library in the city centre at 8:30; I live on the Markt. But getting up early five times a week doesn't work. I have a lie-in once or twice.” He has an exam for the Health, Nutrition and Exercise block on 5 April. “That will be no problem. This block suits me,” says Dela Haije. Unlike the last one, which he failed. “There was a lot of biology and I hadn't had that since the third year in secondary school. The resit is before the summer holidays, then I will have to put things right.”
Dela Haije studies at the library because his desk at home is not big enough. “The desks here are really spacious.” He can be found here every day, along with a group of six friends. “We take breaks together, study together and reserve seats for each other. It works: if you are on YouTube and your friends beside you are studying, then you more inclined to do the same. Before you know it, they might think I'm doing nothing.”

Thomas Wigglesworth
Thomas Wigglesworth (18) is studying International Track Medicine. He has passed everything so far. He finds it “pleasant” at the University Library. During the XXL periods, he can be found there from nine until nine or thereabouts. “It's quiet here; I don't get distracted as quickly and all the books I need are here. When I'm at home, I play the guitar or watch something on Netflix.” At the library he goes through old exams with a group or he studies by himself, listening to music. “At the moment, I often listen to Elton John; I usually put on 70s or 80s music.”
He lives with his father in Eijsden, within cycling distance from Randwyck. “But I take the bus,” he says laughing. “Since I have had my travel card, I go everywhere by public transport.”
Once, sometimes twice a day, he goes to the hospital restaurant for a bite to eat. “They have a greater selection and anyone with a student pass can eat there.”

Gabriele Bertoni
Italian Gabriele Bertoni (20) is scoffing down a large portion of food from Cato by Cato, a popular take-away among students. “I was going for a small box, but my stomach told me to go for a big one,” he says laughing. Bertoni is in his second year of European Studies. This is a busy period with four exams. He is now working on the ‘final exam’ for the subject of Qualitative Methods. “We need to write a detailed research design for a hypothetical paper. Mine will be about the rise of populism in Spain and Italy.”
He is in the city centre University Library this Wednesday, “but I prefer studying at FASoS. I feel more at home there and I really like Bandito café.” He arrived here at nine o'clock and by about six o'clock he will call it a day, he says. “Tonight I’ll maybe review for an hour at home and after I’ll read a book or watch a movie.”
Whether he will do a master's in Maastricht, he doesn't know yet. “I want to take a break from studying first. Maybe I’ll do an internship or go travelling.”

Zohaad Fazal (22)
“I prefer to listen to techno music while studying,” says the 22-year-old Zohaad Fazal from Heerlen. “That is music with hardly any lyrics, it doesn't distract.” He has the Econometric Methods 2 exam on 5 April. He is a fourth-year student, “but it is the first time for me to take the exam. I am not completely sure that I will pass, maybe by next week I will be. I still have some time to study.”
“If I don't have to work, I come to the University Library. I am doing a work placement at HSBC, an investment bank in Düsseldorf. I work for the shares and derivatives department.” In laymen's terms: “I look at old deals and look into how we can achieve a greater return in the future.” Normally, he is there two days a week. “I catch the train at 6:30 in the morning and I am home around nine o'clock. Many former fellow students are almost finished with their master's, but they regret not having done a work placement. I am glad that I am doing this now.” He wants to do his master's in Amsterdam or Rotterdam, the centres of banking and finance. “Should the opportunity ever arise, I would love to work in London: the financial heart of Europe.”

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