Independent journalism about VU Amsterdam | Since 1953
27 February 2024

Column
& Blog

USR / USC Universitaire Studentenraad / University Student Council

Keep on supporting the underdog

I dropped out of my first study. Admitting this perhaps doesn’t instill confidence in my abilities, though I would say otherwise. Progressing in spite of adversity is a feat that I am proud to have achieved. So just how did I get from dropping out of my first study to becoming the Vice Chair of the University Student Council?
Education is a journey and a process – it’s ultimately an essential part of life. I’ve always been inquisitive, each summer, I remember my eagerness to get back into the classroom. I remember the excitement of the first day of a new year, new classmates, new ideas to learn. I loved learning, I still do. Even though I craved knowledge, I wasn’t the best student. This desire for knowledge prevailed in spite of a feeling of academic inadequacy, especially after dropping out of my first study (2016).

Despite feeling defeated after my failed first attempt, I began my journey at VU Amsterdam in 2017. From there, I was on the board of my sports club (2018-19), on the Faculty Student Council (2020-21), founded the Neurodiverse Student Association (2023), and importantly, obtained my bachelor’s degree (2022).
Admittedly, these achievements did not come easy to me. I eventually reached a low point in my academics and life, where I sought the help of my academic advisor. Together, we devised an academic and personal plan.

 

I began seeing a psychologist, leading me to being diagnosed with ADHD in 2020 and Autism in 2021. I finally understood myself. From there, my academic success began to feel like success. Though my successes are also the successes of our university due the immense support from my academic advisor Inger Groez and my thesis supervisor Diederik Oostdijk.
Because of my experiences, part of my work as a USR council member is to make VU Amsterdam a space for students who have the ability, though were often second-guessed, or overlooked. Our university accepts the underdog, I want to make sure that after their acceptance into university, attention is still paid to the student and their efforts. Academic advisors that have their students interests at heart, to professors that believe in their students, and extra services that make studying possible for all, are what can make VU Amsterdam stand out against the crowd. By working to ensure that not only the education that students receive is globally ranked, but also the support provided to students.

Even though I craved knowledge, I wasn’t the best student

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