Who are we to decide?

Each semester my university welcomes new students to its study programs. Students with perfect grades and convincing motivation letters often get readily accepted based on those. Then, the remainder of cases gets an additional interview, usually by a professor, accompanied by another staff member. Today, I was one of the additional staff members.

These interviews serve to confirm that the students are motivated, and have a clear idea of what they want to do in their future careers. Accept or reject? A life changer. I find it horrible to make such a decision about someone. They’re kids. Should they really have a plan?

Luckily, there were no entry interviews at my own university then*.

My high school grades certainly wouldn’t have allowed me immediate access. In such an interview, I most certainly would have failed. In 2006, I had no idea of what I wanted in life, or as a career. Nature was the only thing I cared for, that’s why I started and why I am still here. Career? Not something on my to-do list. Direction? Nope. I did not know academia. Honestly, I discovered the concept of a PhD just before I started mine.

I dodged the bullet.

——————————————————————————————————————* As far as I know, Wageningen University still does not use these interviews and, last time I checked, was doing pretty well.

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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