Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Carrots, thesis and things like that.

As always in every student’s life, there are moments where nothing happens, or everything happens at the same time. I like to think I am more in the second type, as the past few days have been extremely busy. Today is King’s Day, and I have all my orange t-shirt prepared… you might need to add a scarf, a sweater and maybe a hat, as it is going to be the coldest Koningsdag in years. I will let you know later what adventures did I live on this day...

To start with, we finished all of our exams. That is a statement on its own, but this was a special exam. Our last subject to be tested was Independent Regulators, and there was a mix of nervousness and melancholy, as many of the students are going back to their home countries to spend time with family and write their thesis. The day before the exam, I was studying in the library at the Uithof, and as I waked back through the black silent shelves, something caught my eye…

Once seen it cannot be unseen, and so I left the library with a sense of confidence, because I knew nothing will be the same after ‘tomorrow’.

Soon after the exam another thought crossed my mind: We had planned a month ago a trip to London, and I have completely forgot about it, because of the early planning. The idea of the trip started as a visit to the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority), and then slowly extended to the weekend. Some of us took a plane on Saturday and were there until Monday. It was my first time in England, and with this excellent company, it was very hard to have a bad time. After walking around this huge city, on Monday we had a very interesting talk with some of the members of this authority, and it was very insightful as we managed to see things from a different perspective, as they work in a different legal system, separate from the EU.

On our thesis corner, I am planning to write (at least most of) my fist chapter, in an attempt to speed things up, as it would be nice to have some free days until I present my first draft…but first I need to earn it. A regulator would call it a ‘stick and carrot’ approach. Never underestimate your Master knowledge. Another good advice I can give the people that will enrol for this study or another is that once you know your thesis subject, or at least an idea of it, write your last papers about it. In other words, explore your idea, writing 10 pages of it can help you see more clearly how can it develop.

I must say, I will miss seeing my classmates every week. I knew this was going to be a tough year, but thanks to this fantastic people, it has been an amazing ride.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Reflections & Conclusions: Being epic is the answer.

      Last week was our University’s birthday, and I like to think that all throughout this 380 years of history, students have not changed that much. I mean, sure, 200 years ago there was no social media and so many distractions, but I bet they found ways to stress and worry about their future. And procrastinate about their thesis.

     On a ‘personal history’ note, this past 2nd of April I celebrated my Dutch birthday, it has already been a year since I am here. Of course I have had a weekend of mixed emotions due to this, and I have been thinking about myself when I first arrived to the Netherlands. Much has happened after that day, in which my mum (and my cat) and I were standing at Schiphol airport waiting for the luggage. I am happy to say I feel completely different, and a big part of that change is due to Utrecht University. It was here were I had to come across lectures and seminars in a different language, writing essays (which I haven’t done in years!) and getting to know this large (and tall) group of humans that surrounded me. I am beyond happy about this experience, especially because of  all this people who came from completely different parts of the world, somehow we got together and happened to have many things in common. I have found friends 12.706km away from home.

      There are many things I can say about this year in the Netherlands. Never have I ever thought I could feel comfortable in such a different culture. Somehow I believe this country awards you with a great gift when you decide to live in it: The opportunity to be free. This is one of the aspects of Dutch culture which I enjoy the most: You are free from labels, as people here hardly care about what and who do you decide to be, as they do not expect you to be anything but yourself. The key to this freedom is eloquently stated in their favourite means of transportation: LE BIKE. This element provides with the solution for traffic and public transportation, but it becomes more, as you no longer are a ‘waiting’ person, but a ‘doer’ when you hop on your bike and manage your speed, your style and your time.
What is more, yesterday was my last lecture of the Master, and I can hardly believe it has gone so fast. Two finals and one thesis to go. I hope I can write my final version of the outline by the end of this week, so at least I know how I am going to address my topic. Last but not least, this is the 100th post of the University blog, and I am honoured to have the chance to write it.

        Remember: Once a student, always a student. No one can take this experience away from you. Make it valuable. Make it epic.