Like a box of chocolates

“My first appearance in print was in 2009, in Delta 31, with a feature article about the eco-storm. Holding a copy that you’ve worked on for the first time is one of those feelings that never get old.

Yet I still marvel at the ultimate accident of how I started writing for Delta. Having been a regular reader of Delta’s English Pages, I also had the feeling that some writings were slipping into the cliché trap. So one day I decided to share my opinion with the editor, found his contact details and wrote him a letter. A week later, having forgotten about my letter-to-the-editor, I got a reply back, saying that my feedback was well appreciated and inviting me to contribute to Delta. I accepted. But soon a thrill of fear struck me: where had this come from anyway, the guts that made me, a novice who barely passed her literature exam in school, reckless enough to pen for a newspaper? Life is like a box of chocolate, I guess.
I started first as a journalist, mainly writing reports and interviews, but then got the chance to express my own opinions on subjects that really interested me, like generation alpha girls, networking, the Dutch fashion mentality…. The joy of discovering my flair for the written word, bit by bit, is motivates me to keep writing. Other motivations come from the excitement I feel when catching sight of someone at a neighboring table eyeing my article, my articles’ ‘times read’ hits on the website, and readers taking time to comment on my pieces. It may sound corny, but I feel so grateful at these moments. Earlier this summer I started my column in Delta. To track all my writings, I also started a blog, which unexpectedly later brought me new clients.
But besides all this, there’s also something else you should know before plunging into the world of freelance writing. As a freelance writer next to your normal student role, ‘weekend’ often doesn’t quite equal end-of-work. Midmorning on Saturdays often finds me sitting in front of my laptop or bouncing around the room with it (depending on how much coffee I’ve consumed). Inspiration doesn’t come free. Internet research with mind-mapping afterwards is a must, while M&M candies help accelerate the process. In rare cases, all that is required is a cappuccino at Coffee Company and some people-watching.
Finally, after hours of inspiration-nurturing and sugar and caffeine boosts, it comes down to that one moment: kick-start typing, the most difficult part of writing, having avoided the seemingly insurmountable for as long as you can. Avoidance techniques differ from person to person, but my evasion usually includes searching for long-lost items, doing laundry, vacuuming or looking through every friend’s Facebook updates. But as tedious as this process is, the sentence-sprouting moment does come in the end, and usually becomes a piece of writing I’m happy with. So that’s my story, and if you find a slice of fascination in it, well, you now know how to become one of ‘us’.”

Lei Li is from Shanghai, China. She can be contacted at: LeiLivanShanghai@gmail.com

Volgens de LSVb dreigt de studiefinanciering klakkeloos te worden afgeschaft. De ongerustheid komt voort uit een aantal voor de studenten zorgwekkende ontwikkelingen. De Tweede Kamer en het kabinet buigen zich volgens de LSVb over het studiefinancieringsstelsel ‘zonder dat er gedegen onderzoek is gedaan naar de gevolgen hiervan’. Herhaaldelijke verzoeken om een dergelijk onderzoek zijn volgens de bond door minister Plasterk afgewezen. Bovendien staan studenten, scholieren en ouders buitenspel bij het denken over een ander stelsel.

De LSVb vreest dat er met wijzigingen getornd gaat worden aan de toegankelijkheid van hoger onderwijs voor iedereen. Dat streven was in 1983 uitgangspunt bij de instelling van de studiefinanciering. Als studenten op grote schaal moeten gaan lenen, zou de toegankelijkheid in het geding kunnen komen, meent de LSVb. Jongeren zouden dan afzien van een studie. Ook zou een stelsel waarbij de complete studiefinanciering wordt verstrekt als een lening er toe leiden dat studenten noodgedwongen meer gaan werken naast de studie.

“Mensen voeren discussie, maar ze weten er bijna niets van”, zegt vice-voorzitter Dennis Wieringa. “Dit stelsel heeft veel bereikt. Er zijn heel veel studenten bijgekomen. Dat moet je niet zomaar afschaffen voordat je weet wat er dan kan gebeuren.”

Er ligt nog geen wetsvoorstel, maar verschillende politieke partijen hebben zich al wel uitgesproken. De VVD en D66 willen van de basisbeurs een lening maken. De regeringspartijen houden zich koest, maar gegeven de huidige staatsschuld willen ze niets uitsluiten.

Editor Redactie

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