Mark Kawakami

Mark Kawakami is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Law.Together with eight others, he takes turns in writing a column for the paper version of Observant.

OMG, am I a Boomer?!

OMG, am I a Boomer?!

For some time now, I’ve been feeling out of touch with my students. When I make pop culture references from a TV show during class (a sin I commit often), confused and befuddled faces usually stare back at me. So I double down and proceed to ex...

On Missed Opportunities

On Missed Opportunities

Last week, I paid a pair of plumbers €140 for a job that took less than an hour and I found myself wondering: Why didn’t I become a plumber? Perhaps it was because in my early years, I mistakenly believed that I wouldn’t amount to...

On Becoming a Father

On Becoming a Father

My dad left when I was four and he has been absent from my life ever since. So growing up and dreaming of one day becoming a father myself, I always imagined that – unlike my father – I would be a loving, caring dad. A dad who was present...

Marching On for Change

Marching On for Change

Whenever I see sustainability initiatives around our university, it makes me wonder: Is this actually doing something? We replaced garbage bins with recycling stations. We got rid of plastic cups from our coffee machines. We implemented Warm Sweater ...

Making Alcohol-Free Beer Fun

Making Alcohol-Free Beer Fun

I recently gave up drinking, so when I saw the Observant report last week about the Wageningen research claiming that drinking alcohol-free beer is “just as much fun” as imbibing normal beer, I was intrigued (and quite sceptical). The res...

The Strength Behind the Smile

The Strength Behind the Smile

Albert Mhangami has an infectious, radiating smile. Yet, as a black student living in Maastricht, he is regularly confronted by racism. For example, once as he was cycling home, a group of drunks threw apples at him, calling him a nigger. As his teac...

Being Earnest (and Maybe Happy)

Being Earnest (and Maybe Happy)

“If you’re going to try, go all the way,” Bukowski once wrote. Do so even if it means you alienate yourself from loved ones, lose your mind, and end up in jail because going all the way is “the only good fight there is.”...

Advocating for Procrastination

Advocating for Procrastination

An old Army buddy of mine once joked that procrastination is like masturbation, it feels good until you realize you just screwed yourself. Rather than postponing things, just get it done. Action – as he would say – is the best cure for an...

Creating a Culture of Service

Creating a Culture of Service

Whenever I draft recommendation letters and offer career advice to students asking for them, I am confronted by a sense of unease. This feeling emerges from the fact that as students prepare for the next stage of their lives (and the uncertainty that...

Searching for Lifelines

Searching for Lifelines

“I think about suicide every day.” So read an anonymous post on Spotted: Maastricht University, a popular Facebook group among the students. Unfortunately, posts like this are not uncommon as many students struggle with emotional and psyc...