A lack of participation leads to a hollow degree


A familiar sight to all students; an endless stream of course survey’s and constant reminders to give feedback. It might seem like a hassle and why should you care if you already finished the course? The end goal is that sweet degree and who cares about the rest, right? This sadly can’t be further from the truth, without active student participation you will leave with a hollow degree.

Actively participating in the community and university is a great way to develop both your personal and professional skills. This is especially important since these skills can’t be learned through lectures alone and are essential for working with other people and functioning in an organization. As an example, being able to properly formulate and voice your opinion in a meaningful way is a skill that is often overlooked but invaluable. Or being able to navigate a large organization and searching for the right information or documents you need. Without such a skill set even the most mundane tasks can seem daunting. Luckily your time as a student is perfect to learn these skills and develop yourself.

Actively participating in the university council helps me staying on top of the news and learning about opportunities that may arise. This is of course useful to know about certain changes in courses or legislation that might affect you, but that is only scratching the surface. Without looking further than your courses and interacting with different people you might miss incredible opportunities. I personally wouldn’t have become a member of the university council if it wasn’t for people suggesting me to do so. And while not everything you encounter will be of interest, it's better to know about opportunities and choose not to act on them, than to miss out because you never heard about them.

Not everybody can join the university council, like I did. But luckily there are many other opportunities to get involved. There are plenty of feedback and brainstorm sessions where students can voice their opinions. Just check your mailbox or keep up to date with the news on intranet or Cursor. And if something you care about isn’t currently being talked about, you can always get in contact with a respective body. The voice of students is luckily well protected in legislation and invaluable to the university to improve education. There are lots of opportunities to get involved if you look for them.

Even if you will be at the university for a short while, the skills and knowledge you develop can easily be translated to other parts of your life. As a personal example I found understanding the local municipality much easier since it was really similar to how co determination is organized here at the university. Even if this does sounds futile, working on your soft skills and networking can be applied everywhere and will give you an edge when you start working after your studies.

Just think about who you would rather be working with in a group project: someone who only attends lectures and earns a hollow degree, or someone who is actively participating and is skilled in working together.

Deen Slenter studies Applied Physics at TU/e and is a member of the university council on behalf of student group DAS. Views expressed in this column are his own.  


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