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Can't see the forest for the trees these days


We can all agree that these are turbulent times, both within and beyond the university. Another turbulent experience, I found, was the admission process for first-year students. No arrival will ever be completely flawless, but the continuing pandemic is certainly throwing more obstacles our way. Did the road have to be so bumpy?

As physical interaction must be avoided, a lot is happening online. Understandably, but not without problems. Ideally, there would be one or two streamlined platforms that would supply me with all the necessary information. Unfortunately, there are considerably more - among them Canvas, MS Teams, Outlook mail, personal mail, Zoom and Osiris. As a consequence, information passes me by.

To my mind, the platform-saturated market is the core of the problem. Forming a husk around that core is the chaotic mail traffic and the lack of clarity arising from the above-mentioned platforms.

Let's start with the mail traffic. I have often asked friends whether they have a better grasp of the contents of a mail, only to hear them reply that they had not even received the mail. What's more, I would not describe the sites in use at TU/e as clear and easily navigable; some detective work is usually required to find what you are looking for.

To counter the confusion, there are always students, armed with experience, who are prepared (usually via WhatsApp) to answer questions. On my study, Data Science, the group app is aglow from all the messaging going on. Whenever I glance at my WhatsApp, I see dozens to hundreds of unopened messages. I hardly need explain that it would be impractical to wade through all these messages. Unfortunately they sometimes contain important information or questions (with their answers) that I could not have come up with.

In answer to my earlier question: no, the road need not have been so bumpy and, of course, some initiative can rightly be expected of me. Ultimately, these are simply obstacles that need to be overcome; and, when all is said and done, is that not one of the reasons we applied to study for a degree at TU/e?

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