“Moments of confusion - great!” This is how the academic director of University College Freiburg (UCF) welcomed all first-year and exchange students during the official welcome week. And I, the good student that I am, am already following this like a mantra.
It all started by needing 30 minutes for what is supposed to be a 15-minute bike ride to university (and, sadly, back). Indoctrinated by the Dutch anti-phone-on-your-bike law, I decided to follow what I recognised and remembered rather than Google Maps. Considering that I’ve only lived here for two days, I now see where my logic failed.
Then came another registration procedure at UCF itself, where I was sent from the right to the left and back. Insert your e-mail here - give feedback there. Luckily, the many choices of cake that were served helped me survive this too. Also, by then I had already registered for the university of Freiburg three times, so I had become quite the expert.
And the confusion only started there: thanks to the wonderful double degree structure I’m following, I’m not really an ‘exchange student’. Which makes me… a first-year? No, that can’t be right either. Instead, I’m neither here nor there and somehow fall in between categories. Though it would be unfair to claim that UCF doesn’t catch me with a nice, comfy net during this fall.
“Moments of confusion - great!” Of course, the academic director meant getting lost in studies and finding our own niche in academia. But why shouldn’t this have a larger meaning? I’ll continue stumbling from event to event and I’ll just let all memories imprint on me.
In a way, this confusion has a beauty in itself. Time flies - it's already slipping through my hands faster than I'd like. But confusion, that will always stay. Whether that's a good thing or not.
Jesler van Houdt