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The Hermit Crab Dance

19/04/2018

The upcoming period is one of great change in the university, but also one of renewal. What doesn’t seem to change, is my appetite for David Attenborough videos and the constant source of inspiration that they seem to be for me and for my columns.

This time we have a recurrent guest, or at least one of his evolutionary cousins: the coconut crab has made way to the hermit crab. An interesting creature possessing no shell of its own, it uses washed up mollusk shells from the beach as its own.

Since these shells are borrowed, they do not grow with the crabs and once in a while, they are forced to change. When one shell washes up on the beach, all the hermit crabs line up and exchange their shells so that everyone is better off (check the fascinating video that inspired this column below). Humans function in a similar way with in place of shells having positions and instead of switching them, they have promotions or move on.

With board years all across campus coming to a close and especially my own, I see a lot of truth in that statement. In all associations, 'Kandies' (successors), are getting ready to fill in shoes bigger than their own while we the 'Voorgangers' (predecessors) are getting to move out in search of a different if not bigger shell.

There is some strangeness to it all, because our Kandies know exactly what shell they are getting while there is still much uncertainty for those leaving. Moving in is after all always easier than moving out and on. But then I’ll probably let you know when I find my new shell.

Amazing Crabs Shell Exchange | Life Story | BBC

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