“Well, find some motivation then,” my mother used to say as I complained about having a tummy ache in an attempt to avoid spending another whole day at school. Years later, I discovered that finding motivation actually seems to be life’s goal. At least, it is when you’re a student and the potential to create your own future seems to be endless.

If you want to find motivation, Erasmus University is certainly the place to be. Every week you will find one or other student association or faculty in C hall or at the top of the escalators in T building, armed with motivational texts, awaiting students who need some motivation. Once I’ve managed to avoid the stands on my way to the coffee bar, I find more printed texts on my coffee cup: ‘Be the change’, ‘create your own success’. I only want a coffee, but I get free motivational advice at the same time.

The call to give meaning to my life recently came slightly closer to home when I opened a book that had remained untouched on my bookshelf for the past five years. Perhaps it was a sign from above that this book – appropriately enough Conversations with God: an uncommon dialogue – suddenly caught my eye. The author, Neale Donald Walsch, claims that he has had a conversation with God. Not the God of a certain religion, but a God who impresses on us the following golden rule: he wants us all to be the creators of our own reality. I liked this rule, but it also put more pressure on me to give my life more meaning.

As a student, there seems to be no avoiding the competition ‘who can devise the best future’. But despite the pressure to create a meaningful life before it’s too late, I try to keep a cool head. And even though I find all those English texts slightly over the top, I try to see the positive side and remember what God says to Walsch in the book: bless everything that crosses your path, even if it wasn’t your choice. So I think: ‘Drinking coffee out of a plain cup is actually quite boring.’

Marnix ‘t Hart studies Philosophy at the EUR