She knew they were coming. She sensed they were right behind the corner. Still it happened: the Annual Introduction Days (AID) took Resource blogger Donatella Gasparro by surprise.
© Sven Menschel
On a casual Friday of August, just one amongst many others for us poor working souls, our campus was invaded. Taken over. Weird constructions and installations everywhere, and an incredible amount of lost people with debatable hats and headbands, backed up by an equally incredible amount of people trying to help them find a way. Welcome to Wageningen, again. “Dive in” the motto: yes, also if you do not participate. There’s no hiding from the AID. Even town centre was under assault. I thought I could find shelter there at night, but I was simply naïve. There they appeared again: debatable hats and headbands clogging Hoogstraat with sudden bike traffic, after weeks of summer peaceful calmness. That’s when I started checking the AID program with one secret purpose: to know which places to avoid when.
It’s the first year I see the AID happening from outside. Last August I was happily away when it happened. And the year before, I have to admit, I was participating. No regrets.
I cannot quite say I did not enjoy those days, but also I soon realised they were the least relevant experience for me making my way into the Wageningen world. It is nice, makes you feel kind of welcome and gives a start to social interactions in a strange place. But that was definitely not the way I met my friends, nor the way I discovered all of the things I like doing or taking part in. And this surely does not apply to everyone. And I am also not a party-type, nor a beer-type, nor a random-inflatables-on-campus-type. Boring, I know. I struggle to have fun with these meant-to-make-you-have-fun things, especially in new places and with new people. Nonetheless, I was pleasantly surprised to have a Campus-Games view from the last floor of the library that Friday. I have much more fun doing some people-watching in these cases.
Now, don’t get me wrong: no hate on the AID. Breaking down my allergy, I think it’s mainly about two factors: 1. It brings me back to that freshman phase of the two-years-ago me, to a bunch of newcomer processes that are no fun and no one will miss. 2. More importantly, it brings to my mind the endless Wageningen turn-over, the constant waves of coming and going, of goodbyes and starting-overs that a place like this imposes on its slightly more settled inhabitants. That one precisely is my least favourite part of living here. A little dark cloud in the bright sky of the Wageningen experience.