BFF | Comradery
When I was on my way to the office two weeks ago, it was very quiet on campus. Cars stopped on the side of the road and young people got out of the car with big bags. I saw parents walking with their young adults exploring the premises. It hit me… it is introduction week at the TU/e.
Through my office window I could get a glimpse of the dynamics, while also enjoying the music on campus... I was observing young adults transitioning into an entirely new world and making new bonds on different levels. Automatically a smile appeared on my face as my thoughts wondered off down memory lane.
In the 90s, I stood at the AOR, a hangout for TU/e students, drinking beer after beer, trying to assimilate into a culture that was completely foreign to me. Normally, I can barely finish a can of Coca-Cola in an hour. I was impressed with the speed at which Dutch boys and girls poured that yellow stuff down their throats, and, I tried to join this party. That night, I got drunk for the first time. The way home was hard to find, and a 15-minute bike ride turned into three hours. As expected, I overslept the next morning and was late for the second day of TU/e Introduction Week. A warm welcome to student live@TU/e!
When newcomers enter an unfamiliar academic environment, they often feel a little insecure and afraid. They cling together in search of each other’s support. Comradery is forged when these ingredients come together. Barriers such as being rich or not, coming from a different culture, etc., fade away, and long-term relationships are born. I even exchanged words with my future husband during the first day of the introduction week.
In our academic eco-system relationships balance on the edge of comradery and competitiveness. Helping each other when the going gets tough, challengin each other, giving each other sincere, honest and critical feedback, and having fun together teases out the best in ourselves and in each other and also steers towards collective successes.
Even after your studies at TU/e, your comrades will continue to play an important role in your life. Some of you will land in academia, some in industry, and some will choose another path. Your network will also enable partnerships between these different eco-systems. I experience comradery on a daily basis at work and see it all around me. These open and trusted connections are essential building blocks for a fulfilling and impactful personal and professional life.
Do not miss opportunities when someone reaches out to you or fail to take the first step towards comradery. On every road you take in life, hidden treasures of companionship await your guidance. You’ve taken the first steps, even if drinking Heineken was the gateway, towards building deep friendships during the introduction week. Continue to invest in your relationships, they have the potential to be the wind beneath your wings.
BFF | Bald, Frizzy or Flowing is a joint initiative of Willem Mulder (Bald), Monique Bruining (Frizzy) and Luc Brunsveld (Flowing), that they started at the beginning of 2023 on the site of Cursor.