However smart you are, you can never know everything. So if you have a pressing question, just ask EM. Whatever it is you want to know, EM has an answer.

Ritalin? Cocaine? Alcohol?

What substances are allowed to boost concentration during exams? Ritalin? Cocaine? Alcohol? And what works?
Asking for a friend

Drugs are not allowed on campus, and drinking isn’t good either during exams. In fact, neither are very useful at any time, says Professor of Pharmacology Jan Danser. Cocaine is off the list anyway, because it’s very unhealthy as well as being on the list of banned substances. According to (controversial) professional literature, Ritalin on the other hand provides ‘maximum benefits’ with ‘minimum harm’. “But is the damage really zero, particularly when it’s used a lot?”, Danser wonders. He points to some of the side effects: insomnia, high blood pressure and reduced appetite. “The best ways to improve brain function are still through sleep, diet, exercise and education,” Danser therefore concludes. “So no drugs or medication!”

No black sheep here


There’s an R in the name of the month, so the Black Piet discussion is live. What’s the position of EUR? Is Piet welcome? And what colour is he?
Deniz, Rotterdam

Do you expect presents because of last year’s good deed?

Good news: Erasmus is visited by Sint and Pete!

At the end of November, the duo will be back

And you can bet the Petes won’t be black

No, says information Pete, they will only be ‘smudged brown’

So no pots of black soot will be emptied over their crown

Thus Erasmus hopes to ensure an ‘international, inclusive university’

which has no place for black sheep – permanently.

PS Last year, academics and media specialists (with EUR support) published a magazine: PIET, a guide on a modern Sinterklaas celebration. “It describes the many ways in which we can celebrate Sinterklaas with a modern and thus inclusive, not black, Pete”, says Professor of Caribbean History, Alex van Stipriaan. “But we can celebrate without Pete too, of course. Just surround Sinterklaas with lots of different children in costumes.”

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