Big Achievement (B.A)

29 Aug

This is it. The rite of passage is complete.  The clip depicts my last excitement as a student of Roosevelt Academy. On June 3rd I received my bachelor diploma; it’s my personal big achievement.  Not only have I acquired a new status because I can now add B.A. behind my name, but also can I share an incredible experience as a student in a small liberal arts college.

In august 2008 I left Bulgaria with high level of uncertainty and curiosity. I was separated from my previous world in Bulgaria;
friends, family, and teenage emotions were left behind. My father had thrown a cup of water toward my way before I left for Sofia. There I got on the bus to the Netherlands carrying only one suitcase.

IntRA week

IntRA week

In the Netherlands I was ready to take part in the initiation ceremony – the intrRA week. Certainly it’s the most memorable and great event for every freshmen.  So did I enjoy it too: I met many people,bought a bike, skipped the English evaluation test, climbed up electric polls, dressed in plastic backs, took part in drinking competitions, got drunk, danced on tables, had bruises while trying to climb the steep staircases of my new house (Dutch houses o.O)  etc.

Shortly after the intRA week I had to face the challenges of the liminal stage.  In my first year I had to cope with the acculturation shock, withstand the evil stats, manage my financial difficulties, consolidate the new friendships, and discover my interests and career path. Thanks to the Bulgarian group, I received support and I didn’t feel too much home sick. Although it was hard to understand statistics, I did every assignment, asked classmates for help, printed out the lecturer‘s handouts in advance to take notes in class. To finance my study, I have done the dishes in a restaurant for two years. Because I was required to live on campus, I socialized easily with people from different nationalities. For example, I would never forget the house dinners and Sinterklaas celebrations. At RA I explored the core curriculum alongside with several discipline from different departments to find what I really like. My tutor and teachers helped me a lot in my choice. Biology, History and Economics turned not to be my thing, but instead Psychology, Anthropology and Sociology became my passion in my sophomore and senior year.

house dinner

Bagiijnhof 4 house dinner

In the beginning my grades were not high despite the fact that I had only excellent grades in high-school. I failed some exams and continued to fail exams even in my last semester. However, I was not discouraged. I was determined to study because the education at RA was interactive and I could receive personal assistance due to the small classes. Exams were only some part of the final grade which also constituted of presentations, assignments, research etc. I highly appreciated the opportunity to participate in research projects such as those about clients in mental health institution, cognitive errors in alarm management, individuals with ID and so forth.

With time facts might be forgotten although some theories and concepts such as simulacra, modernity, border-thinking, culture, local knowledge, global city, spatial-fix, quality of life, decision-making, influence and many others are still deeply embedded in my academic experience. My point however is that the way of working in class and communicating with people from diverse background will always remain. For three years in college I learned to manage my time as much as possible, work in a group, to work under stress, be flexible to some extent, how to conduct research, how to work with external organization, to be critical and always question. Moreover, I learned Dutch and my skills improved steadily in two years, so that in my senior year I got closer to the Dutch society and I was able to find a better job as a waiter in a beautiful restaurant with sympathetic boss and wonderful colleagues.

On the one had I like RA, but on the other hand I have to point some down sides of my education. The administration at RA and Holland was somehow tedious. The over subscription of courses almost interfered with my academic plans. The participation grades, which were part of the grading system of several courses, were so much superficial and unnecessary. I was not understood by few instructors and moreover I was blamed that I did not read enough when I was looking for help. In addition, the living agency Woongoed was not sympathetic and it kept high prices of the student dwellings.

Nevertheless, I loved RA with its advantages and disadvantages. I will remember RA and Zeeland with its busy academic program, several all-nighters, parties, excursions, long vacations, good friends, bars, flirts and opportunities. At RA I grew up as an independent person who stood against difficulties. For three years I improved enormously. Of course I own a lot to my teachers, tutor, friends and colleagues who all contributed to my personal development and self-actualization.

symbols of graduation: diploma, gown, hat and tinsel

symbols of graduation: diploma, gown, hat and tinsel

Now I am ready to re-incorporate into the society and explore new horizons.

I am not going back to Bulgaria yet, but instead I am going to do two years master program in Nijmegen.

To be continued…

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One Response to “Big Achievement (B.A)”

  1. Mix 10.11.2011 at 5:19 pm #

    Everybody seems to be frustrated with the student residence agencies… and I thought it was just me. :]

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