People who have gotten to know me a bit closer know that wherever I go, chance is I have one and a half feet out of the box, with all the good and bad that comes with it. And so it is kind of fitting that my graduation has also taken place outside of the regular academic rhythm: I physically and mentally wasn’t able to hand in a thesis when it was foreseen – and that I failed some courses and took an extra semester to balance those out and augment my knowledge a bit further either way goes without saying.

That graduating in September – at UCM, you usually graduate either in January or July – was even possible showcases what an enormous privilege it was to follow a tailor-made undergraduate degree at University College Maastricht. Four years ago I ventured into the world of academia, not knowing whether I might become an activist, a scholar, a politician, a thilosopher, a lawyer, a data scientist. Today, I can assure you that I have successfully managed to not let myself be constrained to either of these things. I’ve learned to speak the languages of the different disciplines. I’ve written exams and handed in exercises in statistics, machine learning, and data analytics just as I have read and written legal memoranda or papers in political theory. And I could write my thesis on a topic that I have carried in my heart and mind ever since I had my application interview.

But most importantly of all, I have gotten to know the most interesting, curious, and caring friends and mentors. They have made me grow immeasurably and shaped my transition to young adulthood in all the best ways. Be it in- or outside the classroom, academic or non-academic, in the context of one of the many organisations I hopped around or purely personal, it is what I am most thankful for and humbled by looking back on the past years.

If you’re curious about what I’ll be doing next, you’re not alone – so am I! There’s a great number of things that can and should be done in the world, and my thesis is one great example for a personal working programme for the upcoming decade. Where and in which contexts I’ll find the strength, knowledge, and resources to tackle those things I can’t tell yet. All that I know is: I’m back on my feet, and not knowing which box they will break out of next, can proudly proclaim: 2000’s kid out!