How strange that I can't see any of my classmates, I think as I calmly ascend the staircase to the chemistry building at the Dreijen. Oh well, they must all be making a last-minute entrance today. I swing open the door of the lecture hall and get a shock. What? It's pitch dark in there and there is not a soul in the room. Frowning hard, I check my notes from yesterday's lecture. We were to have a class as usual today, weren't we?
Back in Wageningen I am relieved to see one of my teachers for this morning. When he sees the empty lecture hall he bursts out laughing. 'I think we've made a mistake', he says calmly. 'Check the timetable.' 'It's true', I reply guiltily. 'It is there in red, bold and underlined: we are at the Leeuwenborgh today'.
My teacher responds resolutely, 'well, we'll have to peddle fast.'
'Er...', I mutter, 'I haven't got a bike here.'
By now Freek is running up the steps of the university in Rotterdam, his laptop bumping clumsily behind him. 'One more minute', he thinks, 'one more minute.' He pants his way to the top of the steps. What a relief: the door is still open.
'Okay, jump on the back', says my teacher. And we wobble off towards the home of the social scientists. About ten minutes late, we enter the lecture hall together to a warm applause from everyone present. 'Nice that you have found it too', says my other teacher with a hint of sarcasm. 'Okay, then we can start now', she says to the rest of the audience. Slowly my red face regains its normal colour.
And in Rotterdam the door closes, right in front of my brother's nose. 'Too late, lad', says a security man bluntly. 'I was held up and now I have come all the way for nothing', complains my brother. 'Nothing to do with it, you're not going in now. A university student is expected to take responsibility. Get used to it, lad. It's the same everywhere.'