I’ve made it (about pressure and the Dutch education system)

I’ve made it, done it, owned it. The impossible can actually happen as long as you have a crazy determination towards your goal. I received my bachelor’s degree in science following the Creative Technology study course at the University of Twente.

This is not my first bachelor’s. I graduated in being a teacher in art and design. Which is (sorry for the Dutch terms) a Hoger Beroeps Onderwijs study. And before that I finished a C&M (oftwel Pretpakket) at the high school with too many extra courses (I’m like a Hermoine). Basically I sucked at math, physics, electrical engineering, informatics, or anything beta-related. I was doing okay at creative- and language courses and everybody thought I would go to a music school. So why the hell did I choose such a crazy study?

Several reasons led to this decision.
1) The crisis.
2) The urge of wanting to prove that I’m smart.
3) More opportunities.
4) The only study course I got admitted to.

Crisis
While studying for my degree in art and design, the crisis kicked in. I saw my fellow classmates sitting at home after completing their study, as many people from the creative branch were fired. I also wasn’t happy being a teacher and I needed a way out. I scrolled through the universities of the Netherlands. No study course was willing to admit somebody with just a Hoger Beroeps onderwijs foundation course in art…except one, fresh new study called Creative Technology. I wasn’t convinced that the study would be something for me and I had my doubts regarding designing useless products which would pollute the environment. But I didn’t have much time to think about it. There is a glitch in the educational-government system which allows you to start a new study while finishing your old, paying statutory fee. Normally, when starting with a second study you have to pay institutional tuition fees, which could be 4 times higher.

To prove that I’m smart
This is a wrong reason, but back then I couldn’t help myself. Nobody considered me to be smart. And it felt like I needed to show the world that I did matter. After feeling useless inside the modeling world in which succes is solely based on looks, it felt like I needed to do something useful. Hence a technology study with crazy difficult math and physics could just be that thing that would pump my inner self esteem.

My first year of university is blurry, filled with stress and alcohol to finish my Hoger Beroeps Onderwijs study and continue to study at the university. I was in the first year of studies/students to be targeted by new regulations called TOM (twents onderwijs model). It means that everybody gets the same treatment and if you fail just 2 courses in two different modules…you are out. It sounds like a survival game, but this is reality and it’s still happening. TOM seperates every study year in to 4 modules. You could continue studying if you finished 3 modules successfully. Which is okay, until you realize you will fail the entire module if you just fail one course. Let me repeat this…one course!!
If you are terrific at math, physics, programming and you have the best ideas… but you can’t draw a solid cube.. you’ll fail the entire module. Welcome to the 21st century of education. No wonder so many kids are already overworked, depressed and study counselors overbooked.
I haven’t had a proper math/physics/programming course in 10 years! And my pre-knowledge was gone or too basic for the advanced integral signs which were rapidly thrown in my face.


Crazy determination
Although many people around me advised me to stop this craziness, I couldn’t let it go. My view was black and white. It was either a job I didn’t like or 3 mental ,crazy years and lack of sleep. I studied day and night. Waking up at 7 and sleeping at 11, every part filled with studying. My social life was gone and Saturdays and Sundays were also filled with homework. I guess I just didn’t have the time to think why I was doing this to myself.
I guess I’m one of those people that,  if they start something, they will finish it no matter what. A crazy drive which refuses to Netflix and chill until the job is done.

I finished it
And I finished the study with an average that makes me very happy. I know it’s not the way happiness should be created. But I finished it and I’m damn proud of myself.  And yes it does make me feel smart and that I proved people wrong. I also know that if I want something, I’m a pit-bull that doesn’t let go until it reaches its goal. But this also tells something about the crazy educational system. It feels like we are obsessed with titles, things that would look good on our CV that might just draw the attention of a company. Children have to set their career path just being 15/16/17. With hormones raging and a self-identity yet to be discovered, choosing a career path is crazy difficult and second or third chances (cause we all make mistakes) aren’t easily possible and have great financial consequences. No wonder so many people are doing something different compared to what they studied. If you haven’t finished a study ,I can imagine that people would look down on you, perhaps thinking you are a failure, instead of being interested in the different path you chose.

I’ve finished my studies, overall in an okay physical and mental way. But I could just as well have been overworked. The pressure is intense and failure isn’t an option. And isn’t this what is happening more and more often at a younger age?

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