NINA SOPHIE VROOM, NETHERLANDS
My name is Nina Sophie Vroom (the left one on the picture) and I am 20 years old. I was born in Zwolle, which is about an hour drive from Enschede, and I have lived in Enschede for two years now. Being a second years student, I feel like it is yesterday that I came to the campus for the first time. Nowadays I am very active for a political youth organisation and I love to dance salsa every week at the campus. Next to this, I also play (bass)guitar.
Why did you chose this study?
My subject profiles at my high school were Economie & Maatschappij (Economics and Society) and Cultuur & Maatschappij (Culture and Society). First I did HAVO, then VWO (VWO is needed to sign up for a university). I always knew that I wanted to go to a university, just not which one, neither did I know which study I wanted to do.
After a friend recommended this study, I chose to be a student for a day. During this day, it was very nice to see that this study is very broad and has all the aspects I liked. Politics, sociology, economics and law. I have considered these subjects as studies, but disliked the fact that they were too narrow. Therefore, this study was perfect. Also, the only university which offers this study is the University of Twente.
What did you do in the first module?
In the first module, we learned about my two favourite subjects in this study; political science and law. For the project we had to come up with a constitution for an independent country. Also, we got to know research methods, which was quite overwhelming for the first time. Believe me, after a while it all seems really obvious!
What did you like the most about the first module?
The thing I liked the most was getting to know all the new people. First, it can be very hard to stand up and introduce yourself to an unknown person. But, after realising that everyone is new and nobody knows each other, it can be very nice to get to know everyone. Another really nice thing is enjoying the programme you chose instead of a fixed program (like in secondary schools). During high school, I really did not like subjects like geography or biology. During your study, you chose a direction you are interested for. This gives you so much more motivation to learn and work for it.
What did you find most challenging?
How to tackle the project. A lot of tasks are suddenly in your hands, and where in the secondary school teachers help you a lot, at the university it is all about initiative from you and your group. Of course, there are tutors and group meetings. But, these do not happen if you don’t arrange it. In the first week, we did not really realised this. It resulted in a lot of stress, because we should have begun a lot earlier.
What was also really challenging is to learn what is significant and not. The professors expect you to read a lot, but you cannot simply remember all what is descripted in those big books. Therefore, you have to notice what are the red linings and what are things you do not need to learn. You will learn this trough the year by making more and more exams.
Do you have any tips for the new students?
In my first year I was active for SIRIUS, the study organization of European Public Administration and Health Sciences. This was very nice because you can contribute to nice parties, events and seminars. But the nicest thing was get to know people, which was very easy to do by signing up for a committee. I joined the political committee and the committee for the annual gala of SIRIUS. My first tip is therefore to be active next to your study. Most often, this will also look good on your resume.
Another nice thing to do is sign up for a sport or club next to the study organisation. It is helpful to get to learn people outside your study!
And of course, lastly, begin early on your project work and make clear agreements concerning which task belongs to who and who is responsible for what. This will prevent unnecessary discussions and arguments when there is stress or when there are problems.