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“Making a production process more efficient, I get a kick out of that”

“Making a production process more efficient, I get a kick out of that”

Photographer:Fotograaf:

Joey Roberts

Maastricht first-year students of 2020/2021

When he studies, he always goes for a ten, plays at a high level for football club MVV, and wants to become a member of every club or association. First-year student of Econometrics Cedric Pots, living at home in Maastricht, sometimes has to have his enthusiasm curbed. He agrees that he sets the bar too high every now and again.

Name: Cedric Pots 
Study programme: Econometrics & Operations Research 
Moved out for university: No 
In 5 qualities: open-minded, ambitious, inquisitive, sporty and passionate. 
Nationality: Dutch
Lowest point in 2020: School graduation trip with friends to Sicily cancelled because of COVID-19
Highest point in 2020: Getting his grammar school diploma

Even before the bell can be rung, the front door swings open widely and Cedric Pots appears, in shorts and sports shirt, in the doorway of his parents’ home. 

“Would you not prefer to put your bicycle in the front garden?”

Chances of the old banger being stolen, are minimal, certainly in this area, one of the better new housing estates in Scharn. After the interview, the bicycle turned out to have ended up in the front garden after all. “That was probably my dad.” 

Father Gerben, controller at a mortgage bank, is working from home these days and serves apple-and-apricot vlaai with coffee in the garden. The garden belongs to a modern, spacious single-family dwelling, built just after the millennium.

Son Cedric grew up here; in fact, he has never lived anywhere else. He spent the best part of his childhood years on the expansive playing field a little further along. He feels it is a great place, also because of its central location. It’s a ten minute bicycle ride to the university, five minutes to MVV and just as long to his piano lessons – which sums up his life in a nutshell. 

Nerdy

First the university. Even in third year of secondary school, he knew that he wanted to study Economics. A choice that didn’t just come from nowhere. His father has been in banking his whole life and his mother was an Economics teacher at Porta Mosana College in Maastricht. So yes, the housing market, unemployment and share prices are regular topics of discussion at the dinner table. To the displeasure of his sister, who is in fifth year of pre-university education. “It doesn’t interest her at all and she is going into health care.” 

The first impression of his Econometrics study programme is positive. “I had prepared myself for the worst, that I wouldn’t understand anything, but that only happens occasionally. What I really like about Econometrics is that you are trying to solve problems. For example, making a production process more efficient, I get a kick out of that.”

He chose Maastricht because the School of Business and Economics (SBE) pays a lot of attention to skills. In Tilburg and Rotterdam, where he visited the open days and the participation days, the emphasis was more on theory. “It wasn’t because of a sense of security that I chose Maastricht. I think I could have settled in Rotterdam too.”

How does he like his fellow students? “I feared, well feared… that they would be rather nerdy, but that is not the case at all. Really nice people, all of them.”

Status

His parents and his friends have already had to reign him in a little. In his enthusiasm, Pots became a member of study association Vectum, he signed up with student investment club Sigma, and he agreed to give a speech at his former secondary school. 

At the grammar school – also Porta Mosana College – he was known as one of the better students in his class, it is wait and see if he will stand out at university. “When I study, I always go for a ten, but I hope for an eight or a nine, at least that was the case at secondary school. Maybe I will have to adapt my standards. What I really can’t live with is getting a six when I could had gotten an eight.”

Sometimes, he sets the bar too high, he says. “I demand too much from myself, put too much pressure on myself. I want to prove that I can do it, especially to myself. I don’t do it to impress others. I don’t care about status at all, I actually abhor people who boast about it.”

Nursing home

How he would characterise himself? Open-minded, ambitious and inquisitive. That latter, he says, is proved by his choice of student jobs. He is registered with a job agency that constantly sends ‘job vacancies’ around. Pots only answers work places where he would like to see behind the scenes. “I have made beds in a hotel, but also did a sitting room shift in a nursing home. I poured coffee and kept the elderly company. You hear all about it on the news, but now I experienced myself how lonely it must be if you never have visitors.”

The low point in his own life was the death of his grandfather, who died of prostate cancer at the age of 67. “I was four at the time, but I can still remember that feeling of sadness really well. I had a bond with him, he was also sporty and passionate. And an Economics teacher.”

Alcohol

Then the football. Or better yet: top sport, as Pots refers to it. He is midfielder for MVV, in the under-21 team. “That is the team that is directly under the professionals. We train four times a week, for at least an hour and a half. On Saturday, we play matches, against teams across the country, from Katwijk and Hoorn to Groningen. That takes up a whole day.”

He has more or less adapted his lifestyle to it. “We are given nutritional advice and it is not advisable to go out drinking on the Friday evening. But that is not a problem for me, also because I don’t drink. I don’t like it.”

Some team members also regularly train with the first team. “I would like to do so myself, but I do want to continue to combine my study and football.” 

All in all, it is a busy life, says Pots, and that is partly the reason why he decided to live at home in first year. Then he at least won’t have to worry about the washing and evening meals. He also doesn’t want to think about living in a student house in times of COVID-19. Friends he knows from secondary school, live in rooms elsewhere in the country but they spend half the time with their parents at home in Maastricht. At the same time, he feels that living in digs is part of being a student. Maybe next year.

Borsato

And finally: the piano. Pots may demand a lot from himself, but that doesn’t apply to music. That is pure relaxation. “I play all different genres. From Wake me up by Avicii, Rood by Marco Borsato, to well-known classics such as Für Elise

It all started with that last piece. He remembers it well. “It was at a recital evening in primary school, I was eight. A young girl played Für Elise, and that touched me so deeply that I thought: I want to be able to do that too.

Who are the new first-years students?

Who are the new first-year students at Maastricht University? What are their dreams, their plans and their expectations? And how are they doing this year? Observant will follow five new students this academic year. We will interview them several times: now, in autumn, in the winter and, finally, in May/June.

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