Laid out chronologically on the conference table in the committee room of the R.S.G. student association, five colourful Eurekaweek shirts tell a tale. Thorsten, who is currently in his second year in the Psychology programme, recalls that “The black and purple ones hail from 2020 and 2021, years marked by the pandemic. These years were all right, since they did allow us to engage with participants on campus, but the festivities remained somewhat subdued. Which is a shame, because Eurekaweek is all about forging connections and getting to know the city, before diving into serious academics.”

That is why, come evening, Thorsten often leads his group to the terraces of Oude Haven or to parties hosted by student associations. Amidst these revelries and notorious drinking games such as ‘bussen’ (a card-guessing game), occasions have arisen when participants who had had a bit too much to drink needed assistance returning home safely. “We once escorted a participant back to Kralingen. On the way back to R.S.G., our sense of direction faltered – we were slightly inebriated ourselves – and we got a bit lost and navigated the city from three to six in the morning. We managed to bring him home, but not ourselves.”

The shirts are laid out across the table. Image credit: Bart Huijser

Country Roads

At the front of the row of Eurekaweek shirts is a vibrant red variant, which Thorsten wore during his first guiding experience. “I have the fondest memories of that year”, Thorsten recalls. Enjoying a whole week off, he was able to team up with a close friend, forming a dynamic guiding duo, and they had a group of wonderful participants. However, what stands out most in his recollection is the ‘beer cantus at Ahoy’, a grand singing spectacle where people sing along to familiar tunes in a way that is more about exuberance than melodic quality. “It was awesome. You walk into that hall, you see the stage, and everyone is belting out Country Roads. Simply fantastic.”

Thorsten himself had not foreseen that guiding new students on five occasions would be this special. “I casually mentioned my four prior guiding experiences during the introductory training sessions. And taking a fifth run at it could indeed be seen as the mark of a superfan, haha. It’s just something that I still enjoy a lot. Being a guide helps you meet so many new people, be it through your group, the student associations or the many clubs. People are always asking me whether I’ll be back as a guide next year.”

Break the ice

With a wealth of wisdom accrued over the years, Thorsten has some tips for new guides. “When the assembly convenes at the opening event in Ahoy, the noise can occasionally create an initial awkwardness. The group dynamics take time to solidify. As a guide, you can help break the ice by sharing a few amusing tales of your own Eurekaweek escapades.” He also stresses the significance of gauging whether the participants are enjoying themselves. “However, don’t forget you’re still a student yourself”, Thorsten says. “So make sure to enjoy the experience, and your group will respond by opening up in kind.”

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