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How Do You Keep Travelling

At least once a week someone asks me how do I do it. How do I keep on travelling and how do I it with money. Aah money. The magic word for which every backpacker would wake up for. Just whisper in their ear: “Hello sunshine! Time to rise and shine! Money is waiting for you!”
BAM! I garantuee you, that person will jump out of its bed and be wide awake.
Money, expecially among younger backpackers, seems like a never ending struggle. It is like water in the desert: where can you get it?

In this blog I would like to give you some tips on how to save and earn money while travelling. I will mainly focus on countries where I have been and where you can obtain a Working Hoiday Visa (WHV) such as New Zealand and Australia. With a WHV you can legally work up to 6 months for the same employer. Check the immigration websites for more details as every country has different rules and regulations. Also, make sure you know your rights; there are very nasty companies who do not pay you the right amount or tax you more than you should be.

Little important things to think about, but firtst of all, I would encourage everyone to go travelling. Even if it’s just for a year or so. It really opens up your mind and might makes you change it too. Were you planning on studying? Perhaps you change your study. Did you really wanted to work in IT? Maybe you find out you enjoying working in construction more and maybe your relationship is as good as it seems. Travelling gives you knew insights and perspectives on your live but also on yourself. Some people call it: “finding yourself“. It sounds a bit too dreamy for me but you will find out a great deal about yourself and work on your social aspects. You might needs to push some boundaries and step out of your comfort zone more often than you hoped for.

To keep on travelling might have been a conscious descision or not. You might have , at one point, decided to continue and explore another country. Others just go with the flow and they have just ended up somehow, travelling on. I belong in the latter catergory. It was the mere suggestion of my partner who suggested that we could go to Australia after New Zealand, and so we did. We started dreaming of other places and where to go next. Because you as free as a bird, you can do whatever you want to do and that feels great.

However, this doesn’t mean I am lying on the beach the whole day, sleep in, stay up late, party and consume lots of booz and drugs, like some of my friends and family are thinking. I would like to get this huge misunderstanding out of the way. Surely, there are backpackers who do that and love it but if you are travelling on a long term basis – let’s say, longer than 1 year – it becomes a lifestyle and who wants to live, needs to eat. Who needs to eat, needs money to buy food. Thus, you probably need to work at some point. (There are still many backpackers calling their parents for money…). Travelling can be hard work. We tend to wake up early and go to bed around 9-ish. Making a cup of coffee or tea involves a bit more than just putting the kettle on. Little things take much more time as you have limited space or facilities.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love camping and living in a car but it does require some energy.

When we settle down for a few months to fill up our wallets, we both go out looking for a job. I will be the one backpackers waking up with the whisper: “money is waiting for you”. But to get that money, I will have to work.

So here we come to tip no. 1. WORK. The magic word. But not every backpacker will jump out of its bed to work. Specially if you don’t like your job. In my case, I’m working 2 jobs and both of them are quite OK but not fantastic. It does bring in a fair bit of income but it is brain draining too. Knowing it is just for a short period – usually 2 or 3 months – I can deal with it.  Easy jobs are not dreamjobs. For example housekeeping. It is something I have done many times before and very easy to get. Still, I absolutely loathe it but when I look in the long term, it will keep me on the road for a while.

You don’t need to do things you don’t like. I choose to work easy jobs as I want to start quick and work hard to earn a lot of money. That is why I don’t look to long for a job and take the first thing I get. Others do look a bit longer and ending up with someting they more enjoy – or not.
A huge adventage of working while travelling is that you can try many things. Actually, you can do anything you want! In the countries where I have been, nobody cares about your education; as long you have the right attitude. Your experience list will grow rapidly. I can proudly say I have worked as a: cheesemaker, vegan baker, kitchenhand, sheep herder, housekeeper, doorknocker, car sales(wo)man, barista, waitress, receptionist, grape picker. On a blue Monday I have changed engine oil and break fluid for someone on a parking lot in Christchurch.

Tip no. 2 will sound like your mother. Or an accountant. Simply, don’t spend that much. Do you really need to stay in a caravan park for $45 a night? Do you really need to have a take-a-way coffee every day and $3 croissant? You can spend your money in a more sufficient way. Think in the long-term and about practical things. Great that you have 5 different shorts and 3 pair of jeans but how do you want to carry that around? It is better to invest in things you will need on the long run on your journey than buying new stuff all the time. Good hiking shoes or a head light are one of the things you can spend your money on and enjoy them for a long time.

So the conclusion? How to keep on travelling?  First of all: work whenever you have the change. Even if you don’t really have to work but you are still settling down for a few months, you should find a job. You will be grateful in the end as it will keep you on the road for a long strecht.
Second: don’t spend all your earnings on crap you don’t need. In matter of fact, try to safe up as much as possible. Let’s be honest, do you really need to have 6 pairs of shoes? And third: work and travel your own way. I have met many backpackers who either work 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, or people who don’t work and be drunk every night. These are 2 complete different examples of how you can travel. Most important is that you do it your way. If you don’t feel comfortable working 7 days a week, than don’t. Keep things fun; it is your journey.

Photo: Brian Megens

My Way to Make Money with Yagmur Masmas of aGreenStory

As bills don’t pay themselves an income is required, some obtain it by working for a wage, others by starting up their own business and some are so talented that they can make an income out of their hobby. In this column ‘My Way to Make Money’ we interview a student or a university employee about their job or business and ask them questions about how they experience their work. This week we interview Yagmur Masmas, the budding entrepreneur from aGreenStory. Although a UCM student, she is currently doing her minor at Wageningen University. She has been fortunate and talented enough to make a living out of her passion and establishing her own company. Yagmur has featured in a number of competitions in Maastricht and beyond, and has talked about aGreenStory on a number of platforms. 

My company is…
A supplier of sustainable office stationery and supplies and other accessories such laptop bags. People also use our products as promotion gifts for their company so we also do custom made orders for organisations. We sell our products online through our webshop and we deliver them to the customers via our pick-up services at university campuses, but we also join various fairs and markets.

My job is…
I’m in charge of customer service. My number and e-mail are on the website and I reply to people’s inquiries, like for example, students asking about the pick-up service or a company asking a quotation on a bulk order. I do part of the website, but this part is something my co-founder and I do together. I keep the website updates, take pictures of the products, write the text and deal with the SEO (search engine optimisation). For a long time, I did social media but now some interns have temporarily taken over that. I also coordinate the pick-up points, making sure everything goes well.

I also analyse in which ways our products are sustainable, so before we launch a new article, I do the research into the sustainability aspects. Sometimes you can find some of these details online like part of it is made of recycled materials, but then some information is missing, for example how much water is used. Quite often, the producers only state the good things and not the others and that counts. It’s a tough thing to do so it’s important to develop a personal relationship with the suppliers.

My company started…
Officially, last February when Sander (my co-founder) and I decided to work on it together, but the idea already started when I was in high school. I was looking for exercise books, but sustainable ones, and I could only find really expensive products. I thought that was ridiculous so I searched a bit further. In the end, I ended up doing a pilot in my high school with a little shop. We were fantasising it with friends on whether we could sell it in the whole of the Netherlands, but back then I didn’t have the knowledge and skills to make it happen yet.

Photo: Brian Megens

Yagmur of a GreenStory

A regular day at work looks like…
Me working everywhere. I travel a lot so I often work in trains or buses. My work is not structured so even during class, I’d be replying to e-mails. I would say I spend half of my time studying and the other half for aGreenStory, taking into account that during holidays I work full-time.

The thing that makes the job hard is…
That it’s very difficult to plan my time.

The main reason for choosing this job is…
Firstly because I thought it was missing in the Dutch market, and I’m in the position to fill it in. I’m also intrinsically motivated to contribute to sustainability and I like talking about it in different events. It helps that the work is flexible, so during exam weeks, I can devote my time to studying.

I didn’t expect..
For long distance collaboration to work. At first, I wasn’t sure about working with people from far away but for us, it works. Also, I didn’t expect how because we are a sustainable company, people are more critical of our practices. So for example, the delivery of our products are not 100% sustainable, but we’re working on it.

My goal for the next years…
Is to work on it full-time. Over the next few years, I hope to have an aGreenStory line so our own products designed by us in stores and to have a number of regular company customers who have integrated the practices of refilling pens and so on, instead of buying new articles. I’m also working on having the whole business process 100% sustainable, from the products itself to the delivery. We’re launching a new website in 2016 so I’m really excited about that too.

I love my job because…
Of the team, it’s a great and motivated team! I’m very happy to be doing something positive to make the world a little bit better. It’s also a nice feeling when you get positive feedbacks from the customers, that feeling of satisfaction.

 

My Way to Make Money with Aaron Vinnik

Studium Generale Lecture Anti-Semitism

As bills don’t pay themselves an income is required, some obtain it by working for a wage, others by starting up their own business and some are so talented that they can make an income out of their hobby. In the Weekly column ‘My Way to Make Money’ we interview a student or a university employee about their job or business and ask them questions about how they experience their work. This week we interview Aaron Vinnik who is employed by the university as a teaching assistant in the history department. Before graduating his masters at the Maastricht University in European Studies with a Cum Laude, he obtained his bachelor degree in History & Political Science at Culver-Stockton College in Missouri. In his spare time he likes to travel and experience new cultures. Aaron has a preference for outdoor sports and is in love with his new race bike which takes him to the beautiful surroundings of Maastricht.

My job
As a teaching assistant in the History department, I am employed to dedicate my time teaching meaning I have no time for research. Normally, I teach one course at the same time. I teach at FaSos, however, Arts & Culture takes only 20% of my time while 80% of my time I end up teaching European Studies students.

A regular day at work looks like…
On days when I teach, which is 2 to 3 times a week, I usually have around 2 to 3 classes a day. Most of the time the students have lectures in the morning followed by the first tutorial at 11am until 1pm, the second class is from 1.30pm until 3.30pm with the last tutorial at 4pm and ends at 6pm. Although it’s the same teaching you do, each class is different and that gives the class new dynamics. If students are well prepared, you can give them more space for discussions while some groups need more guidance. On days where I do not teach, I’m either doing some readings to prepare for classes later in the week, or I am making/grading exams or revising bachelor papers.

I like my job because
It’s dynamic, I’m not teaching the same thing for a long period of time. Over the year, I teach a number of courses, so if you teach something that’s not your cup of tea you’re not stuck to it for the rest of the year. Working with students and helping them understand the material is a fulfilling job. As a teaching assistant, I have more experience with academic materials and therefore I can help them better than if they do it on their own. Another point why I like my job is the working environment in FaSos. The tutors get along with each other and the senior staff is really supportive of us, something you don’t see everywhere I think.

The thing that makes the job hard is
Students who are not paying attention. It’s amazing because sometimes even after multiple attempts via email or announcement in class they still don’t absorb the information. You try to be helpful to students but often they disregard it and can even backfire on you. This is most especially first year students in their first 6 months. They are struggle because they’re not used to the PBL system and/or university. Another factor in making the job sometimes difficult is the third class at the end of the day. This can be tough because you want to give every group the best you have. You want to be as alert as you were in the in the first group. I notice that also some students are struggling with this, from 4-6pm they’re not the most motivated and alert which is understandable because it’s also their end of the day. The challenge as a tutor is to give each class the same benefit from the experience, regardless of the time, participants or material.

I got this job by
applying for it. In my masters I was a research assistant for the head of the history department. He made me aware of the position and advised me to apply because he thought it would suit my abilities. After the interview, I was offered the position which was 2 years ago. I started my job in the summer of 2012.

The main reason for choosing this job is
that I knew I would enjoy teaching because I have done it before so it wasn’t far outside of my comfort zone. It was the first job offered to me after university and nothing else was playing, therefore it made sense to start working for the university. Another reason is that Maastricht as a city appeals to me. It’s a good place to live especially as a student. As a student you’re surrounded by students who you can socialise with. Working is a bit different because people have more obligations and responsibilities. As I’m interested in doing a PhD, being able to do a job where I can develop skills that will become useful when I want to apply for a PhD is perfect. In my job I get feedback from experienced and skilled people from the university.

The time I spent in doing my job is..
Irregular. We have a certain amount of teaching hours. In some periods we’ll be working more than others. The reading and teaching within a course is pretty consistent but the time it costs changes from course to course.  Also the amount of work depends on the specific task I have to do. For example, assisting and grading papers takes more time, with all the meetings necessary, than grading exams. However, in the end all tutors have a maximum amount of hours.

I didn’t expect the job to be..
As interesting as it is. Everyone jokes that the Germans have invaded Maastricht. However, you’ll be astonished by the diversity you have in class. You’ll have Brits, Dutch, Germans, Belgians, Spanish, Italians and so on. This diversity makes it interesting especially because in European studies you try to teach about Europe and its diversity, seeing a mixture in your own class on where you teach about makes it a far more dynamic experience.

My goal for the next years
is to start and finish a PhD in security studies or a related field. Hopefully, I’ll be working in that field. It can be for the government, an industry or a think-tank. I want to apply my knowledge from my PhD in a related field outside of academia for a while before returning to teach.

I love my job because
Over the years my teaching schedule change, and this pushes your own boundaries.  Teaching something new demands refocus year in year out. I get satisfaction from teaching, helping students finding their way in the academic world. Maastricht is a nice place to live, although in a couple of years I want to live in a bigger city. However, Maastricht is close enough to a number of big cities which allows me to travel and explore the areas around me. This provides me with new knowledge for myself and to pass along to my students.

My Way to make money: Ward Zonneveld

Ward Zonneveld at work © Brian Megens

Ward Zonneveld at work © Brian Megens

As bills don’t pay themselves an income is required, some obtain it by working for a wage, others by starting up their own business and some are so talented that they can make an income out of their hobby. In the Weekly column ‘My way to make money’ we interview a student or a university employee about their job or business and ask them questions about how they experience their work.

This week we interview Ward Zonneveld a 21 year old student who’s doing a master in Human Movement Sciences at the FHML faculty. Ward is a typical student who likes to hang out with friends, play videogames and sometimes visits the UM Sport gym to stay in shape. In order to pay the bills he works in the Albert Heijn as a re-stocker.

A regular day at work looks like…
Usually, I walk into the store with my blue Albert Heijn shirt on and go straight to the stockroom to check my job for the day. I drive into the store , trying not to run over customers, with the container filled with goods that need to be stocked on the shells. When the container is in place, I can place the products on the shelves. At the end I clean my mess up and see if I can go home or help someone else.

I like my job because…
Although this job seems quite boring, I get to know a lot of people, colleagues, that later turn out to be good friends. During work we talk about the people walking by, football and the regular small talk, which makes the job a little more exciting. It is also nice to see friends do their shopping while I am working. Helping customers with questions and sometimes even give them advice is also a nice distraction from re-stocking the shelves.

The thing that makes the job hard is…
that I always have to work at dinner time, so I have to cook before or after work. Also customers that ask questions like ‘Where are the eggs?’ when they are just clearly 1 meter away, can challenge your temper. However, the one that is the most annoying is the music played in the store, it is just awful; it makes me want to use earplugs which I of course am not allowed to do.

I got this job by…
As every student needs money, me and a friend sought a job and found one at the Albert Heijn in the Helmstraat, close to the Vrijthof. They had some posters on the walls saying that they needed employees, so we went in, asked if this was still the case, and applied for the job. After a short interview I got the job and could start working.

The main reason for choosing this job is…
I had previous experience in another supermarket. Therefore, I knew that it was relatively well paid and the work itself was not that tough or difficult. Also you have many colleagues and you can work together and have social contacts. So when I saw they were looking for new employees I could not see any reason not to apply.

The time I spent in doing my job is…

Two to three evenings a week you can find me working in ‘AH Helmie’ for a 2 or 4 hour shift, that makes it about six hours a week. Therefore, this can perfectly be combined with the study as it does not take too much time and the study contains a lot of self-study which I can do whenever it suits me.

I didn’t expect the job to be…
working such short shifts, I often work for only two hours straight and then I am done. Longer shifts for fewer times a week would suit me better as it takes less time in preparation.

Later in life I’ll be…
A researcher with focus to sports or rehabilitation. I am really interested in perfecting training programs for obese people and/or athletes, movements and rehabilitation techniques is really my passion, therefore it would be great if I could turn this into my job!

My way to make money with Martin Lamberts Löwenbrück

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As bills don’t pay themselves an income is required, some obtain it by working for a wage, others by starting up their own business and some are so talented that they can make an income out of their hobby. In the Weekly column ‘My way to make money’ we interview a student or a university employee about their job or business and ask them questions about how they experience their work.

This week we interview a student about his summer job as a waiter in the States. Martin Lamberts Lowenbruck is a 23 year old student in the second year of the European Studies program. Born and raised in the USA, he holds a German passport due to his German parents. His German ancestry was one of the reasons that triggered his interest in Europe and come to Maastricht for his studies.

My job…
I work as a ‘waitstaff’ of a seaside restaurant named Jackie’s Too in Ogunquit, Maine, USA. Opened in the 60’s, the restaurant now serves as a tourist attraction for Americans and French Canadians alike, serving both lunch and dinner every day, all year-round. I’ve been working summers at Jackie’s restaurant since 2012, and was fortunate enough to have the opportunity of returning this summer for work, albeit for only a short time, as my work schedule in the Netherlands requires my return.

I like my job because…
I enjoy working at Jackie’s too for several reasons, not least of which is the beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean over Perkin’s Cove. The restaurant is located directly on the shore, with only a few metres between the waves and the restaurant veranda during high tide. The smell of the cold ocean on a warm morning is one of life’s simple pleasures. The ocean has always been close to home.

A regular day looks like…
I spend about 6 hours a day, 5 days a week at the restaurant. Starting work at 10:00 means I usually leave work between 4 and 5 PM, depending on how busy the day was. With tips for excellent service included, you can expect to earn around $120 to $170 for 6 hours of work, making $20 per hour isn’t bad.

The thing that makes the job hard…
The hardest part of the job, as in all realms of the service industry, are terrible customers. These very patrons, however, can be what makes the job great. Working busy hours and running food on a 100º day will certainly run you down, especially when a customer heckles for minutes at a time over simple things like water or napkins. Despite shortcomings and unpleasant guests, however, good service is usually rewarded with a good tip, unless you’re serving Canadians. The French Canadians, in keeping with good European tradition, generally do not tip the server, assuming it is already included in the bill. If lucky, I can expect a 5% tip from even the sweetest Canadians; they simply don’t understand customs, despite returning every year. The reason tips are such a big deal for the service industry in the USA is because of the low wages servers receive. Servers do not qualify for minimum wage (around $8.00), because they generally receive tips. When the tips are not received, servers essentially work for free.

The job gives me…
Apart from the location, the rest of the waitstaff is comprised of people from all over the world. Having become acquainted with numerous international employees from Eastern Europe last year, I have now had the pleasure of getting to know a few South Africans, Jamaicans, and seasonal workers. The international and cultural exposure that this job has to offer was one of the hidden gems of working in Ogunquit. People rarely realise how much of the tourist industry in Maine survives off the work of young aspiring guest workers. The cultural and worldly experience gained by the locals is just an added benefit.

I didn’t expect the job to be…
as stressful as it is sometimes. Nevertheless, I also didn’t expect the job to be so rewarding. As a server, it’s important to have the ability to sell yourself. The server’s ability to give the customer a nice experience is the fulcrum on which earnings turn. This line of work certainly puts more responsibility on the server for good wages.

Later in life I’ll…
not work in the restaurant industry. It is certainly a high-stress job and teases one’s patience. It’s ideal for young and energetic people who need something to do for a summer. For the seasoned employees, I have nothing but respect, as they toil daily in one of the harder industries. These people serve others when they are not working. I aspire a career in journalism or maybe life will surprise me.

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May way to make money with Cecila Cotero Torrecillas

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As bills don’t pay themselves an income is required, some obtain it by working for a wage, others by starting up their own business and some are so talented that they can make an income out of their hobby. In the Weekly column ‘My way to make money’ we interview a student or a university employee about their job or business and ask them questions about how they experience their work.

This week we interview 28-year-old Spanish Cecila Cotero Torrecillas, a second year European Studies student and a freelance viola player. Besides her passion for music, she likes to jog, practise yoga, cook exotic food and explore the world.

Read more

My way to make money with Maphrida Forichi

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As bills don’t pay themselves an income is required, some obtain it by working for a wage, others by starting up their own business and some are so talented that they can make an income out of their hobby. In the Weekly column My way to make money we interview a student or a university employee about their job or business and ask them questions about how they experience their work. 

This week we interview the student with probably the most recognizable face within the university: Maphrida Forichi. Although her job is a non-paid one, albeit compensated, we’re happy to make an exception. She is an executive secretary, reporter and editor at Breaking Maas. Breaking Maas is the well-known news/entertainment show made by students in Maastricht. With each episode getting tons of views on their YouTube channel, Breaking Maas has grown to almost a cult-status. Maphrida is a 21 year old second year Arts & Culture student with broad interests, from theatre to travelling to cooking and getting fit, but everyone who knows her is aware that socialising while doing her other interests is her thing.

A regular day looks like…
In preparation for a report I regularly come up with a report idea, pitch it to my team, brainstorm on creative executions, do background research on the topic or person and prepare questions. On the day of the report, I pick an appropriate outfit, show up with a camera person from the team, be awesome and talk to a bunch of people and make sure I do something funny (or at least, I think I can be funny… sometimes). While filming, it’s very important to have the structure of the final outcome in mind, so you have to have an idea of how you will edit the report already. It makes it so much easier to put it all together in the end!

The thing that makes the job hard…
is being able to satisfy everybody. It is almost impossible actually. Our main target audience are students in Maastricht who naturally have varying tastes and interests, so we try our best to produce shows that are appealing and interesting for everybody. If that was truly possible, we would have 16,000 views for every episode. But we would like to believe that our episodes are entertaining!

I got this job by…
auditioning for the role of reporter. I was SUPER nervous even though I am a very outgoing person. I soon learned how to edit, and I now I edit most of my reports on my own. I feel like this job is exactly what I want to be doing with my spare time in university. Breaking Maas inspires individual creativity and allows you to pursue your interests.

My main reason for choosing this job…
was that it added more value to my studies. I am studying Arts and Culture and plan on majoring in Media Culture in my second year, and Breaking Maas helps me combine the theory from my studies with the practicality of actually researching and producing a show.

I would say I spend…
10 hours on average every week doing stuff for Breaking Maas – from attending meetings every Tuesday to reporting and editing. This academic year, I will definitely spend even more time since I am now in the management board. But hey, I love my job! I never complain about the hours. I do, however, expect it to be quite stressful this year, not going to lie!

I didn’t expect the job to be…
this awesome! Of course I knew it would be fun, but I didn’t expect to love it this much. The Breaking Maas crew is absolutely awesome. Not to mention all the cakes and goodies we usually have at meetings. Yum!

I love my job…
because I believe one of the most important university experiences is meeting people. Covering events as a reporter at Breaking Maas has helped me meet people of various ages, cultures and nationalities, from various campuses and occupations. I also like my job because it encompasses both my passion for journalism and production!

Later in life I’ll be…
on CNN, definitely as a reporter though, not an anchor. Or I will have my own talk show but that will just be a side hustle. My main aspiration is to build a Media Empire with my sister Ewa Przybyl. Watch this space for ME Productions!

I don’t like Mondays…in fact I really hate them!

Not that I am a fan of his but good old Bob Geldof had seen it right when, back in the golden Seventies, he wrote the song I don’t like Mondays.  Although the lyrics of the song have nothing to do with my Sunday evening blues, as they actually involve a shooting and grim stuff like that, I cannot help but thinking of Geldof singing in my ear every time I think a new week is about to start.  Read more

What is the Point of Uni?

The Point?

Asked internally of many a University student is the eternal question: What is the point?
For one, there are the rising standards of education. More and more young people are choosing to go to university and therefore:

BA, BSc, BAE, BArch, BDiv, BFA, LLB

Could soon mean as much as:

AIu, Ghb, JAo, YAb, Czk, MHN.

A degree used to mean getting a job, it is not a guarantee anymore.

University, a universal qualification

A large proportion of the population have a degree and therefore to outdo the ‘norm’ of bachelor degrees there is a need for a Masters degree, and then everybody will have one of those…

It has become the expected thing to do for young people with a certain level of  educational background. It is simply the ‘done thing’ to go to university. Many will go for the party, many for the shrinking job prospects, many because their parents said so, and – in my experience – only some for a real passion for their subject. It has been a well known saying that if you don’t know what to do- do law.

However underlying this, there is the assumption that you have to go to uni, you have to choose something. Is that right though? Should this be the case? Is the point of university not to educate those who truly love their subject and wish to study it for three or four years? Not social pressure. As far as job prospects are concerned, is it really right that you need a Masters in Catalan Identity to work the computers in a bank? I suspect many of those at University do not intend on pursuing a career in academia.

Side note: I have a mini rant to impart on you.
It has to do with the university’s APA policy. I have found that almost everybody going into university have not done their previous education in the style of the American Psychological Association (APA). Most students have to part with their footnote-making ways and learn how to cite in text (O’Sullivan, 2011). This, although difficult to adapt to, would be something I saw point in – had it not been for the fact that all my friends attending other universities do not seem to be enduring such (seemingly pointless) rigorous lessons on how to write in a particular style. They are told to stick to footnotes or citing in text – or whatever you prefer, as long as it is consistent and academic.

I do appreciate that UCM (I am not sure that I can speak for the university as a whole) attempts to introduce the students to not only the subjects but also the way we write about them. However, I feel that the strict pedantry that is employed to enforce these APA rules in a strict manner (in many cases affecting your grade significantly) where the formatting style is equally capable of docking marks as the content – is not acceptable. If UCM wants to be taken seriously by the ‘big’ universities in the UK, and I think it does (many students do Masters in the UK, although this point also goes for many universities the world over, with exception perhaps to the US) – then we have to adopt either a footnote system or a ‘consistency’ policy. The APA style, although incredibly credible, is laughable for many in the UK.