City & University

A search for the six-foot student life: Stating the obvious

I want to find the ultimate six-foot student life. However, I don’t really want to find it, I have to find it. Until March, Groninger students were free, but within the blink of an eye this has changed into a so-called “intelligent lockdown”. Students should be able to have a grand and compelling life. In this series of columns, I will look for the ultimate “six-foot student life”.

Life as a student is easily divisible in three core aspects: the social, cultural and academic aspect. Excelling in these three aspects of life should be the highest goal of student life, but this is in stark contrast to the current finish-your-bachelor-and-masters-degree-in-four-years-or-less mentality. Plenty of students prefer a swift conclusion of their time as a student above acquiring valuable knowledge and skills. “Studying to learn” has been replaced with “studying to pass the exam” and when referring to Desiderius Erasmus, only the association with the EU exchange program comes to mind.

The student community needs to reinvent itself. We have to turn the student who follows the schedule that the university and his agenda planned for him, into a student who faces his daily challenges without fear. 

The quest for the ultimate six-foot student life naturally starts in the academic aspect. Although I will come back to this aspect in-depth in a later column, I can’t help myself to state the obvious: The fear for a student loan and the growing amount of obligations form the fire which fuels the current student mentality.

We can’t fix student loans, but we can change our mentality toward them. If you are somewhat capable of dealing with money, a loan at 0% interest is the best investment you can do. If you aren’t capable of managing your expenses, you should ask yourself if you are ready to jump into an eccentric student life. A student loan from the Dutch government is your chance to excel in your student life, it’s an investment which you will recoup in your working life.

However, recouping your student loan is only possible if you graduate. Education directors are imposing more and more obligations on students, hoping they will improve the pass rates. The Groninger educational institutes however are unable to see that more freedom and possibilities to plan your own study routine are the key to success. Exams have a set date, let students decide how they want to organize their daily life. Mandatory attendance and assignments do not work, online lectures and bonus points do.

These bonus points for attendance have existed for a long time, as they have proven their value to the pass rates. It is now up to us, as students, to show the additional value of online lectures. Let’s start studying in time, for once, to make the pass rates go through the roof. If we fix this, the education directors will no longer have an excuse to refuse online lectures. Let this be the cornerstone of our six-foot academic society. 

So far stating the obvious, more next week.