There are times that we have to make our own choices, you have to. Counting up and down, right and left, how many credits do we need to obtain for electives again? What do they mean choosing three top courses, you don’t even have your favorite? You don’t like it, you don’t like that we have too many options, you don’t like that we have the freedom to make the choices that will for sure affect the rest of my bachelor life. And yet, every few months you get an email, reminding you to sign in for courses, reminding you how many points you have left, reminding you of the little game you play to see which courses you get to take for the next two months. You know you should be happy, because you have the freedom to determine a tiny part of your future. But you try to break out of this freedom, because the responsibility seems a little too significant, a wrong choice seems a little too likely, and learning to make your own decisions seems a little too novel for someone who has been following structures and givens like you. The freedom you receive feels like a vast grassy field, you can see the horizon blending with the blue sky, making it grow up, up and up, further, further, and further. But there are some white fences here and there, looking like they come right out of a suburban house. They are a bit tricky for you to maneuver through, but there’s always a way out.
The field is freedom and fences are risks. You either stop or you jump right through.
You either feel scared or you laugh hysterically and dive right in. You either enjoy your freedom or you let the fears limit you. There’s no absolute freedom, you guess that right. There’s no fence-less field of grass that goes further and further until the end of the world. Or maybe there is, you just haven’t found it yet. Because people say you have freedom to do whatever you want when you move out, but you still think of your mom’s worries when you do something reckless. Because people say you have freedom to do every job you want, but you still remember when the world says you are not good enough.
written by Vu Bao Thu Nguyen | photographed by Alisa Mahaletska | designed&illustrated by Gabi Olenicz
“We have too much freedom in choosing courses, I don’t like it.”
Because everywhere you see are fences, and sometimes you are not strong enough to cross through it. But who says anything about jumping and crossing, right? Climb over it, kick it down, dug through it, bring a saw, turn it into a door, make a campfire, grill a marshmallow, or just turn right after right, left after left, find another way out, take a breather with your head against the fence, or even do nothing at all, the grass is gentle and nice enough for you to stay. You can still look for your green grass field with no fences, that’s a journey definitely worth dedicating. But enjoying your time at your own field is still okay too.
Esmée Lieuw On Designed by
Thanh Nguyen & Ira Lizenko
I regret most things. I lay in bed, mulling over everything I did and said throughout the day. An unhealthy habit, yet it’s just that: a habit. And habits can change. People can change. I truly believe that no matter what happens on any given day, when the sun rises again, you are given a second chance. Or a third. Or a fourth. A chance, a new opportunity, to do better. To get up and try again, no matter how horrible the previous day was. Because the you of today is not the same as yesterday, and it won’t be the same you tomorrow. Your past doesn’t define you, it shapes you. It lets you distinguish between the right and the wrong, in people and in things. It took me a long time before I understood that my past, my childhood, doesn’t and will never dictate the person that I am becoming. I make decisions and it may well be the wrong one, but I won’t know until it happens. Until I’m face to face with the consequences of my decision, I won’t know whether I made the right call. And part of me will always want to rewind the clock, but some things are meant to happen. Though my past may be something I’d rather forget because of its hardships, I think it’s good to reflect sometimes. The ability to re-experience a memory or an event that almost broke my heart can perhaps also show me how much I’ve grown, and how much stronger I’ve become. Where there is pain, there is power. And it takes power to accept parts of yourself that are ‘not the norm within society’. We’re expected to fit into boxes, tiny squares, that should tell us who we are meant to be. The baggage I carry around doesn’t ‘fit’ into the box. Your CV may show a world of accomplishments and an endless list of ‘I did that before I reached twenty’. However, it fails to disclose the mental breakdowns, the panic attacks, and the broken hearts I had to endure to get there. I’m expected to smile, stand up straight, and move on. No time to waste. To illustrate, I’ve never prioritized myself. I’ve put everything and everyone else’s needs above my own. I was used to it. This was my purpose: caretaker. I was put on this earth to give out love, to help people, more than I could ever receive myself. And to say it nearly breaks me every day, is an understatement. You see, I’m used to this. When my parents got divorced, there was an expectation that now it was my turn to take care of my parents. I had to help them. And I extended that line of work to my friends. When they feel like the world is about to collapse, I rush to be by their side, leaving the things in my life on a forgotten path. It took me years to understand that if I don’t take care of myself first, I can’t help anyone else. I’ll push things aside to fit other people’s schedules, I postpone work to make sure the people around me are okay. Some may say it’s my biggest flaw, others may argue it’s my strongest quality. Although I owe it to my past for shaping me, and it will always be a part of me, I will continue to learn. Breaking free from past notions and prejudices, move forward and look back every once in a while. Even if people tell me not to.
Le t’s take a trip down memor y lane. It all started last ye ar when our Editor-in-Chief, Anisha, came up with the splendid ide a of cre ating a ne w di vision within the IBCoMagazine family, the Events Te am! Led by the Public Relations and Internal Manager, Yvonne, the te am organised internal events that would enhance the te amwork and bond be t ween the members of IBCoMagazine. But there is so much more! This being our concluding Event’s Column of the ye ar, we would like to take this opportunit y to reflect on our journey and deepen on the ins and outs of the Events te am!
Being part of the IBCoMagazine team for the third year, I decided to join the newly created Events Team! This gave me the opportunity to develop new skills, and experience the creation and participation of many different events! From brainstorming, to planning, and actually holding the events, it was definitely a unique journey full of memories!
Looking back at the events that we got to organise, there are two adventures that stood out to me. First, the photo-walk tour through Rotterdam! I transformed into a local guide and showed our lovely team members the hidden gems that Rotterdam has to offer. We had a great walk through the city and got the chance to get to know members from other teams as well. The second event was the trip to the Hague! On a lovely sunny day, we met up to explore the beauty of a different city, ate some yummy food and enjoyed our relaxing time by a terrace. It felt really nice to bond with the team and become closer outside the normal activities of IBCoMagazine!
However, as a member of the Events Team, my responsibilities involved much more than only holding events! Having formed the Bloggers’ Column last year, witnessing the blooming of yet another amazing column in the magazine this year was a beautiful feeling. Allowing us to get creative by writing for our special column section and also designing the lay-out, it was a true honour to have been able to also contribute to this year’s issues. While we mainly focused on organising internal events, we should seek for broader horizons in the years to come!It would be great if the Events Team could also organise external events, in the name of IBCoMagazine, and teamed up with the faculty and/or other student associations. Together, I believe that amazing events could be created!
Writ ten by Gwendolyne Cheung &Erk aiym Saparalieva
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I gained a truly unique experience at IBCoMagazine, all thanks to the diversity of the activities we have done. Let me explain. What kind of things do you normally expect the Events Team to do? Ensure team-building? Come up with and organise events? Connect all teams at informal gatherings? If you thought of any of these, you are correct! As the Events Team, we have done all of the above throughout this academic year. One of the most memorable events for me was the Board Game Night on campus. We had a classroom doing an exam right next to us, so we were shushing each other the entire night! Eventually, we were kicked out - not because we were annoyingly loud, but because it was very late (at least that’s what they told us). How to forget the winter holiday season, when we came up with a special holiday pack for a movie night. Not to make you jealous, but it had SOCKS in it!!!
However, besides conventional events responsibilities, we had the chance to step our feet on something new - we were the first Events Team to produce our own column in the magazine. Boy, we felt proud! Here is an impression of what was going through my mind:“Wow, I would love to buy something with this page design. Oh, and the title sounds familiar. Wait, didn’t I write it? OMG, GWEN!”
Not only that, we had a trip to The Hague, an art tour around Rotterdam, and even crafted Spotify playlists! It was always inspiring to get invested in people’s visions and final works - quite occasionally I had my jaw dropped. Though, in the future, I hope to see the Events Team expand towards events that invite people outside of the IBCoMagazine too. Perhaps, future Events Teams could represent IBCoMagazine in collaboration with other associations. The possibilities are endless.
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F r e e d o m
Written by Nadine Meerovici Designed by Ira Lizenko 21
P e a c e
She woke up at five, handcuffed. She did not remember why, exactly, she was in a cell, but it didn’t really matter; She was falling asleep once again, slowly positioning her head against the attempt of a pillow she had constructed. The handcuffs did not make it easy for her to stay asleep, as it was an uncomfortable position to be in, and they were damaging her wrists with each move. Her friends had told her she was eventually going to be locked up, but it wasn’t something to look forward to, or even expect to actually happen. She considered herself to be kind, although those are the worst type of people. Not being able to control the uncomfortable position she was in; a guard was requested by her voice. A decent looking man approached her, with a clean-shaven face and an undeniably weak gaze. He asked her what she needed, to which she requested, unenthusiastically, help. He did not care enough. He did not care at all, and he, expectedly, did not uncuff her. He could have, though, since she was already locked up in a cell with no one else, but he did not want to. Not because he was evil-minded, but because it was outside his comfort zone, and he simply did not want to leave it. She noticed the lack of interest the guard had towards her, and she let it go. She did not want to get into a fight, or even start going in the direction of one. She just wanted to sleep peacefully. The guard left towards his previous position, grabbing one of the stacks of newspapers from a table nearby. He started reading each section carefully, without any worries besides letting the paper fall, or ruining the pages he was reading with his fingertips. As a reaction, she was exhausted and annoyed, looking at every edge of the room to see if she could find relief for her sore arms. Standing up from the bed she was laying on, she reached for the cell’s lock and unlocked it. Walking out, the guard did not pay any attention to her, as he was still trying to read the newspaper he had recently grabbed. Although, even if he had noticed, he probably wouldn’t have done anything. She walked out, still tired from an unrestful night. Focused on getting rid of her handcuffs, she went to a tool store and asked for a hacksaw. The person working there was not interested enough to see she was handcuffed, which worked in her favour. She reached down to her wrists, cutting the handcuffs open. Then, she walked out.