You’ve arrived in Maastricht and everything is new: different people from all around the world (aka. Germany), a different study program, and hopefully finally doing what you're passionate about. Now, what golden tip do you need in order to succeed?
Considering myself a fairly experienced student by now after 3 years of studying both in Maastricht and abroad (aka. Germany), I challenged myself with exactly this question (and procrastinated on writing this column ever since). What would I have needed at the beginning of my Bachelors? What would I even have listened to? This was quickly followed up by the realization that the answer to this question depends on which version of my student-self would answer. First-year me? She would sing a hymn of the importance of time management and how it can save any student’s life. Second-year Jes? She would emphasize how valuable it can be to do something next to your studies, to invest in your personal development at the same time as your academic one. This-year me? ‘Don’t forget to take time for yourself and for the people you love.’
But however true and important these tips may be, they’re my learnings. They’re the result of things that I experienced, hurdles that I have stumbled over, and walls that I needed to break down for myself. So while to me they are central to my Uni experience, to you they probably sound like gospels. Things you’ve heard a thousand times.
And so, the best advice I can give is to be open to the unknown you’re confronted with now and face it with your inner child’s curiosity. You‘re in your first week of a new adventure. Ahead is a time of discovering yourself, of doing things you never dared to do or maybe didn’t even know existed in the first place. A time of learning on your own terms. Of taking a big leap into the unknown and of discovering what it hides.
And when will the unknown end, you ask? Who knows? I haven’t left it yet. Nor do I want to.
Jesler van Houdt