UR | Student Wellbeing
Due to ongoing developments such as social media, the increasing expectations that are put on students (both from themselves and the outside world) and amongst other things, the way education has developed at the TU/e, students have been put under increasing pressure. According to Jolien Dopmeijer, researcher at Windesheim, a University for Applied Sciences in Zwolle, roughly seventy percent of the students in the Netherlands now mention that they regularly or often experience performance anxiety and the number of burnouts at the university is on the rise.
The causes of this are often vague but can mostly be related to the increasing difficulty in combining different aspects of student life -whether it be studying or extra-curricular activities such as sports or working- students increasingly find that they do not have time for it all.
Due to growth, there have been changes in the way the University operates which has overall increased the pressure and the expectations that are put on students and staff alike. Indeed the growth has led to the implementation of the 10 hour schedule in 2018 due to a lack of lecture halls, to creative studyspot booking methods (with QR codes) for the insufficient amount of study spaces, the banning of non-TU/e students from MetaForum during exam weeks, the introduction of the Numerus Fixus on a certain amount of study programs and the Bachelor College system’s initial goal to decrease student dropouts, have all contributed to this unwelcoming atmosphere for students.
On top of this some changes on education at the national level with disappearing of the ‘studiefinanciering’ in 2015 has led to an increase of student debt which is now further threatened by the government’s plan to increase the interest in student loans (renteverhoging). Additionally, the housing crisis in Eindhoven has resulted in difficulty in finding rooms and large price increases for those that are available.
While it is true that a lot of the policies that the TU/e has pursued are aimed at creating an environment where quality and small scale education can continue to be provided, the measures have undoubtedly put pressure and in some cases unnecessary pressure on students.
More attention needs to be spend on the issues that are brought up to the overall capacity problem of the university. When changing the schedule, we should have looked into the least inconvenient way to arrange courses, and when we allow housing to be built on the campus, it should be for students and for student budgets. When we evaluate the Bachelor College, we should keep these aspects in mind.
The University is a place to learn, to develop oneself and to be challenged but that does not mean that it cannot be welcoming.