BETTER, FASTER, MORE – NOW!
BY OLIVIA GRUBENMANN
In 2017, the Erasmus program celebrates its 30th anniversary. Like for more than three million other students, this university exchange program allowed me to study abroad for a full semester, to validate my Bachelor’s degree at VU Amsterdam. More generally, five million people from a diverse range of domains have benefitted from this program since 1987: students, but also schoolboys, pupils, job seekers, volunteers, young graduates, professionals in sports and humanitarian organizations.
‘WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?’ AN ASTRONAUT, A DOCTOR, OR A PRESIDENT. We have big dreams and high ambitions. We are asked what we want to be when we grow up by parents, teachers, friends and relatives. Over the years, we find out, bit by bit, what we are good at, and what we enjoy doing. When we are young, we usually approach things in a playful manner. We learn new things easily and usually have fun learning. Was it so easy because we didn’t see the ruthless system of competition in our world back then?
There comes a point in life when we have to make decisions regarding our future: Do we want to work, or go to university? If the former: What job do we want? If the latter: What do we want to study? There are other decisions too, concerning our social life, our free time and our values. So many decisions, so many options. In fact, never in the history of mankind have we had so many possibilities. This can be attributed to improved legal and political systems, new technologies, to the internet or something else completely. One would think that these endless possibilities would constitute the ultimate freedom, but like with everything in life, there is a downside to it. Having this many possibilities can be very intimidating. With every decision we ask ourselves: What if I regret it? What if there is an even better job out there for me? What if I can’t find a job in the field I’m studying? Instead of making a choice, many young people fall into a state of resignation, or jump from one thing to the next, not wanting to commit to anything.