But my former classmate, whom I’ve run into at Kralingse Zoom, clearly takes a different view. He probably only pulled the price tags off his new jacket this morning. “It’s ‘not done’, you know,” he says, after he’s finished laughing. “You have to think of your image.” One hour and at least twenty surprised looks later, I’m starting to understand his point.
EM is 20 years old and during the Christmas period, all kinds of articles that look back on twenty years of Erasmus Magazine will appear under the name 20 Years of EM. In the section When I was 20 the editors of EM look back on their study time, currently one, two or more decades ago.
In hindsight, this mismatch between my sartorial choices and those of my fellow students symbolises my entire time at EUR: in a world where it’s all about networking to land a position on some committee board, sprucing up your resume for that coveted internship in New York and wowing everyone who crosses your path at student association parties, I felt like a polar bear who had ended up in the Antarctic.
Of course, there were enough fellow students who had come to EUR with the same goal I had: to have fun. Except in many cases, this fun was had behind closed doors – in student associations and houses for which I unfortunately lacked the required cred, hipness and/or cool.
Writing this column, I find myself peering ten years into the past. What if I had bought that new jacket; what if I had bragged a bit more? But I suspect that in the end, it wouldn’t have made a difference. I simply lacked the constant drive to buff up my ‘image’ – something that presumably enables a sizeable share of our population to hold their own. I remained that polar bear on the South Pole – regardless of whether basketball jerseys are in or out of style.
Jasper Monster (1990)