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[4/4] The First Year: How it prepares you for 2nd, 3rd year after ATLAS

As summer draws closer, the first year of ATLAS for the cohort of 2022 also begins to end. First-year can be an exciting but confusing, fun but exhausting, challenging but rewarding time. Since ATLAS have a couple of different ways of teaching, learning and working which contrast those most experienced in high school, it sometimes takes a while before students wrap their heads around everything. That is ok and accounted for!

In the midst of it though it can be helpful to take a step back and look at the larger relevance. To do that Simon de Schaetzen from the class of 2021 and Jelmer Hormes from the class of 2020 recall their personal experiences on how the first year of ATLAS prepared them for the second and third year as well as… well… life in general. The areas we cover are courses, projects, self-directed learning and additional opportunities.

“Going through the whole process of writing, feedbacking, proofreading and revising papers has really given me an edge compared to other master students in my electives.”

Courses in the first year of ATLAS are fundamental. Different students will find they use the content related knowledge to different degrees depending on their specialisation. However, it seems to be the skills learnt throughout the courses which prove most beneficial. Aside from this, having had fundamental courses covering Newtonian mechanics, social sciences, calculus etc. allows students to meet prerequisites for external electives as they seek to build their profile, but also gives them the engineering or social background needed to be a ‘new engineer’.

“Projects in ATLAS require you to figure out what you can do and to think in the long term. The interdisciplinary aspect also helps you in future projects to add different perspectives.”

The broad nature of ATLAS’s semester projects allows students to discover how they can play a role in interdisciplinary projects. Whether it is exploring where they fit in or using it as an opportunity to apply their advanced knowledge in a field, it is an effective learning strategy to practice applying theoretical knowledge to practical real-life problems early on. The skills you learn from working in a team are largely applicable also outside of the academic environment.

“Despite the occasional frustrations of having to literally decide about everything; which courses you take, what project you will do, etc. the self-directed learning skill is the most valuable skill I learned in ATLAS.”

Self-directed learning is central to ATLAS’s educational vision. Students should take charge and seek out their own learning opportunities, structure their time and learn to seek focused help when necessary. It is a valuable learning opportunity because it prepares you for later life and has also been known to aid students in adapting rather quickly to more challenging environments and courses.

“I did not expect the Personal Pursuit to be such an opportunity. It helped me get real-life experiences with companies, international institutions and conflicting interests in science.”
“Also, ATLAS people offer so many opportunities to join for dinner, events and stuff making it easier to forge long-lasting friendships and connections.”

These experiences sum it up rather well. ATLAS can provide you with as many opportunities as you would like, all it requires is initiative and action and the community is like no other. Whether you look for academic or personal development the University of Twente will have something for you.

University College Twente offers a unique bachelor’s programme, Technology, Liberal, Arts and Sciences, to top students. Visit the University College Twente website for more information about the college and Technology, Liberal, Arts and Sciences website for more information about the bachelor program. Or visit us during the open day, a student-for-a-day or an insight-day.

Grace Wachter
Writer, Class of 2021
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