Student - 2 april 2014

Blog: Dot-to-Dot

Back in Maastricht, most people went for their diploma like a steamroller: crushing obstacles to get to their aim. A study delay was something confessed with ill-concealed embarrassment by the ‘veterans’. In Wageningen, instead, taking longer for a Bachelor or a Master seems normal, in the statistical sense that ‘most people do it’.

Some students take numerous  years to graduate, others are endlessly postponing their last course or their final thesis. I even personally know some students who have been here for so long that they do not remember the reason why they have been here for so long.

Some get side-tracked by the numerous extra-curricular activities: associations, wonder-permaculture gardens, babysitting, farm-sitting, feeding dozens of hungry students every week at lunchtime by making pancakes with organic eggs and jams. A pity indeed that these beauty and diversity generating activities rarely count on one’s CV, and hardly justify a study delay.

Some slow down so much along the way that they almost stop their studies, but keep living with students in Wageningen. They are just sitting, watching the wheels go round, as that pacifist with round glasses and long hair sang They don’t mind if they are missing their big time. For them happiness is a journey, not a destination.

Some students take extra time because they have not yet gotten the degree of specialization to find a satisfactory job on their trajectory. Others, specifically because they see no satisfactory job on their trajectory, linger in their limbo or delay the delusion by taking a gap year. Some, finally, encounter a course that is like a massive rock on their way. As they are no steamrollers, they must climb this rock- and that may take several attempts- or circumvent it by scrambling off the beaten track.

The trajectory of these people’s studies, which started as a straight line, now looks like a semi-random series of dots. However, do not forget that a line is nothing but an infinite set of points. Someone said that nothing is as exciting as looking back one day, and tracing a line connecting the dots.


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