At the beginning of this month, thirty SBE supervisors went on a “school trip” to the MVV football stadium, where they were also able to take a peek at the new tunnel under the A2 motorway. There Gijsen received a UM hoody and a necktie because of his anniversary. After that there was a meeting in the Hotel Management School, to discuss topics such as “the tricky issue of mobile phones”. These days, students are given a pass, says Gijsen. A so-called toilet pass, which they receive after handing in their UM card.
“Students know that it is not allowed and still some of them take their telephones with them when they take a toilet break. I don’t get it. You cannot completely prevent fraud. You don’t know if they have cheat sheets on them. In all those years, I have only found notes in dictionaries a few times. Something I have to do more often, is point out to students that they should only look at their own papers.”
Gijsen may have worked as an Navy officer for 33 years, but that does not mean that he bellows out orders in the exam’s hall. Not at all, he is “clear, to the point and fair”, says the kind-hearted man from Maastricht. After his retirement he fell into a kind of black hole, so he applied for a job at SBE. “What I like about it is the contact with young people, their liveliness and their carefreeness. People of my age often talk about being ill, becoming ill or having been ill. I have never been really sick. I am always available for the faculty, present at every exam period, three to four times a year. For a time I also worked for Medicine, Health Sciences and Psychology.”
Checks in the exam hall used to be less strict. “Now I leaf through all the dictionaries, I never used to. Twenty-five years ago, you were only allowed a bottle of water on your table, now there are rolls, biscuits, peanuts, you name it.” The only thing that troubles him occasionally, is the English. “I have travelled all over the world, but my command of foreign languages is not great. I do understand it, but speaking I find more difficult.”
Gijsen may have found himself in a black hole at some stage, but that is not an issue anymore. He produces his diary just to show how busy he is, chairman of the Jeu-de-boules club, playing tennis, weekends away, taking the car to visit his children, who live in the west of the Netherlands. “But what I don’t do: worry about tomorrow. I live day by day.”