CLMN | Elevators and pants21 June 2017
My worst nightmare is being stuck in an elevator. When this column goes to print the first reaction I might receive would be ‘Ah! Claustrophobia’. But that is not all, ladies and gentlemen. There’s more to it. Actually, it is not the fear of closed spaces that we will be talking about today. I had to digress a bit before I completed my statement and I apologize for it. Allow me to finish what I started.
Te be more specific: my worst nightmare is being stuck in an elevator with a bunch of people in it. I would like you to focus on the part ‘with a bunch of people’. Every morning as I take the elevator to get to my office on the fifth floor in Metaforum, I pray to either find the elevator all to myself or at least three familiar faces in there.
Yes, at least three! For me, the awkwardness of sharing the elevator with someone is as awkward as surviving an entire day wearing pants that are loose on the waist.
Imagine this; you could not make time for doing your laundry and had to take out your old pants from yesteryears. Back then you weighed much more than you do now. You have saved those pants as a souvenir, as a reminder to yourself, as a boost to your confidence when you need it the most.
But those pants don’t care about you at all. They’ve befriended gravity and are just waiting to notoriously fall into its arms. They’re just ready to reveal your objectionable underclothes. You have to hold on to them every single time you stand up from your chair to get coffee. Sometimes when you rise from that comfortable chair, unaware you are that wearing those cursed pants, you almost save your dignity with a last minute reflex; catching your pants nanoseconds before they are about to drop.
It is so much of a mental and a physical workout that by the end of the day you’re just exhausted. And if you were wondering, why don’t I just wear a belt! Well, there are some unlucky days when life shoves up our a… ahem, posteriors.
Sigh! On second thought, my worst nightmare is being stuck in an elevator with unknown people, wearing loose pants. But what if they’re all wearing loose pants too..?
The quality of education seems to have slipped at TU/e. In the latest Dutch-language guide to universities (Keuzegids Universiteiten), Eindhoven's university has dropped from third place in the overall ranking to seventh place in the course of a year. "It's understandable but it's not good," says President of the Executive Board Jan Mengelers, "and it is all the more reason to push on with introducing an upper limit on student intake to our programs. This is a result of the strong growth in student numbers."
Eindhoven's iGEM team has arrived in Boston. In the coming days, the students will participate in the Giant Jamboree, competing with nearly three hundred teams from all over the world. Their competition entry is their project GUPPI, in which they propose encapsulating tumors in a gel to prevent them growing and spreading.
As well as professors, from now on associate professors (UHD-1) at TU/e may also confer doctoral degrees on PhD candidates. Sixty associate professors were awarded the right to confer doctoral degrees at the start of this academic year after the move was approved by the Upper House of Parliament in the Netherlands shortly before the summer recess. “We couldn't wait to introduce this here.”
Before you google yet another one of my invented diseases and subsequently begin to question the title of this story, let me tell you this. With a new academic year having begun and a shiny new batch of freshmen accompanying it, the university is full of people suffering from the so-called octopus syndrome.