News - February 27, 2020

Blog: The end of an era

Donatella Gasparro

After being a student for 20+ years (including kindergarten), once a Masters is done, a whole era ends. And another one begins… Blogger Donatella Gasparro has been long ready to exit the student status. But what’s awaiting at the end this marathon?

I was done with sitting in classrooms already in my fourth year of high school. But now, one month and a half away from the end of my Masters’ journey, I look at April as a mysterious dark land of unknown creatures and lawless structures.

Kicked out

Being a graduate comes with many things beyond the title MSc after your name. I gave it a thought and it suddenly felt like once the student status expires, the world drags you out of privileges and comfortable bubbles. Take WUR, for instance: they kick you out of Outlook in 2 months. I am not ready for that. So much of what I did in these years is in OneDrive, so many contacts in my mailbox, so many appointments in MyCalendar – and all the study material in Blackboard and Brightspace! Just not to mention access to Scopus and all the possible science… And the student privileges of housing, of discounts at shows, and museums, and places. Suddenly you’re expected to have a good pay, a real house, a sorted-out present and a plan for the future. Sure.

Once the student status expires, the world drags you out of privileges and comfortable bubbles

Plan for the future

It’s easy to have plans for the future when you study for being, say, a baker. Bakery school finishes, you become a baker. Straight-forward. But what happens when you finish a multi-disciplinary programme with a system-wide approach? You do not become a multidisciplinary expert of system-wide approaches. The world is not ready for that. Researcher? Consultant? Teacher? Supply-chain manager? Project manager? Policy advisor? I can continue for a number of words that exceeds the one Resource allows me to use in blogs. Wow, so many opportunities! Wonderful! But in which direction do I go?

That’s how I end up opening random vacancies every day. ‘Oh, this looks interesting, I even meet the requirements!’ and I leave it open to apply later. And never apply because, hey, I actually do not want to move to, say, Bonn.


It’s the first time I finish something and don’t know for sure what’s coming after. I finished high-school and went straight to university: I knew I wanted to study agriculture. I finished my Bachelors and set sail to the Netherlands: I knew I wanted to study Agroecology. It feels like I’ve been running a marathon for many years and now that the end is near I am not sure what I’ve been running towards.

But I know what I’ve been running through: scenic roads shaded by trees, gentle plains with occasional hills, fertile fields in bloom and amazing runners by my side. I don’t know where the journey is bringing me, but it surely was a marathon worth running.