CLMN | Someone like me6 October 2016
It was a tough childhood, some would say, but only she knew how it felt. Children around her called her a weirdo, a tag that felt more like a scar that would stay for life. Trying hard to fit in and failing every day, she would go to bed, weeping. “If only I could find someone like me,” she thought.
Science was her true love. Reading about the wonders of the universe, cosmology, particle physics, calculus, gave her goose bumps. She read books on science like me and you would read Harry Potter.
As luck would have it, she started her study at a small university in the heart of Eindhoven. A dream come true! Day one in the classroom, the engaging lectures kept the adrenaline rush going. She tried to steal a glance from the back of the classroom wondering if everyone was enjoying the lecture as much as she did.
There was this sunken boy, with sparkly eyes sitting there. His helpless eyes wanted to speak out, but couldn’t seem to muster the courage. She had this habit of overthinking and imagining things that weren’t there, so she shrugged it off.
As her attention shifted to the board, she noticed that the professor had made a mistake. Her abrupt interruption startled him, but he thanked her. She looked back at the boy and turned red as she lip-read a pleasant “Thank you so much”.
Today, as she’s getting ready for work, over the kitchen counter that same sunken boy with sparkly eyes is feeding the baby. Between all the hustle of the morning, as it is time to bid farewell for the day, they look into each other’s eyes and she leaves him with a ‘Thank you so much’-air kiss.
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.