Your first day as a student is exciting, a bit intimidating, but above all loads of fun. It’s the start of a new phase in your life. Even though by now, I’m on to my second master programme at EUR, I still vividly remember my first day as a bachelor student. What stuck most with me was that acute sense of isolation – of being a single person in this vast mass of strangers. Even though you’re all in the same boat, at moments like that, you feel like a solitary outsider.
What I never could have expected back then, however, is the impact that day would have on my life today. That first Monday of September, the Sanders Building was filled to the rafters with fresh-faced first-year students. I was starting on my Psychology bachelor, and they wanted you to choose a tutorial group and write your name on the accompanying list.
After mulling it over, I ultimately decided to join ‘Group 12’, since it included the name of someone I knew – or at least, that’s what I thought. She was a Turkish girl whom I knew from secondary school, and someone had told me she’d also be studying at EUR. Which meant that I had managed to find a familiar face in the crowd after all.
When I entered the room of my tutorial group, I saw straight away that it didn’t include any Turkish girls. However, I did scope this handsome guy with a brown Afro! We hit it off straight away. From the very first day, we would duck into the University Library every week to print out articles together. It was a great excuse to hang out a lot.
And after countless interesting conversations, fun evenings, drinks at De Smitse and other adventures, we had become the best of mates. And at a certain point, we both started getting butterflies.
By now, we’ve been together for close to three years. He started his doctorate this year, and I am – as I mentioned earlier – working on my second master. I often think back to that first day. ‘Group 12’ is actually the only time we were ever in the same tutorial group.
What would have happened if I had read the list more closely, and added my name to some other random group? Yup, small decisions can have major effects.
Pooja Guptar (25) does a Master Media & Business