What next

Standing in line, the sales girl bellowed, ‘Who’s next?!’, her voice chiming in my mind like an alarm clock ringing on a weekday morning. Ignoring her shrill call, my mind drifted back to autumn 2008 and the first time I set foot in that store on the corner of the Paradijspoort in Delft.

Amazing how time flies, souring our lives with challenges, decisions and the antecedent questions that define our personal lives. In truth, my mind had interpreted the sales girl question differently. My mind rephrased her question to, ‘What’s next? What is next after graduation?’ 
Questions, the Latin writer, Publilius Syrus, once wrote, are never indiscreet. So for most international students, this is a crossroad to be treaded carefully. It’s decision-making time, time to visit familiar paths that many before us have trod, trying to make sense of the fact our time in Delft is almost done. Indeed, ‘what next?’? For many of us it will be the predictable option of looking for a job in Holland, for others a PhD or the mass exodus back home to begin life after Delft – after all, ‘Charity’, they say, does ‘begin at home’. And in fact many international students will look forward to going home, having been separated from their loved ones for years.
The era of life after learning will thus be ushered in and with it the many issues that make the complexities of life after Delft bearable or, indeed, unbearable. For those who will seek PhD knowledge, it will be many more years of peering through the book of wisdom in search of answers. For the returnees, the challenge will be the re-introduction and reorientation to another life, having relinquished the harmony of life in the Netherlands.
As time draws nearer to the end of our time at TU Delft, many hearts yearn even stronger for the familiar: people, family, friends and life back home. But truth is a home, as the writer Ben Okri has said, it is anywhere one is unconditionally loved. And thus such nostalgic ranting can easily be dismissed with a wave of hand, cast away to the windy whims of the lowlands.
My time here has endeared me to life in the Netherlands, the beauty of this place and its people whom I now call friends; the wholehearted love they’ve showed me and other students is truly unquestionable. We may all have had contrasting cultures and ways of life, but it’s amazing how despite this diversity we’ve thrived all the better, living, studying, partying and playing together like ‘one big family’. Time changes things, and for many graduating students the realities of living in Delft and in Holland will come to a sad end soon. As the warm spring breeze draws near, so will the bonds of affection with place, people and paths be broken. For me it will be a hard parting from my friends and teammates at Ariston 80 FC. Memories of the good times we shared and great games we played will linger long in my mind.
At times like these I simply throw caution to wind, doing the things that help me forget that time is running out. I look to the things that are like therapy: football, reading books, blogging and writing, hoping that these can help me turn back time to the first day I set foot in Delft. My hope is that I’ll no longer despair when asked, ‘Who’s next?!’ or ‘What’s next?’, but instead rejoice at the prospect of the true meaning of such questions, knowing that we are certain of what paths our lives after life in Delft will take.

Bemgba Nyakuma, from Nigeria, is a second-year MSc student at the faculty of Applied Sciences. He can be contacted at: b.b.nyakuma@tudelft.nl

Biologen zouden meer wiskunde, informatica en natuurkunde moeten leren om beter voorbereid te zijn op hun toekomst. Dat zei prof.dr. Nynke Dekker woensdag in haar intreerede als hoogleraar moleculaire biofysica aan de faculteit Technische Natuurwetenschappen. Ze omschrijft haar vak als een gebied waar fysici, die steeds handiger worden om afzonderlijke moleculen te manipuleren, biologen treffen die hun werkterrein hebben verlegd naar de nanoschaal. Het vasthouden, draaien en trekken aan DNA-strengen is intussen routine geworden voor de fysici. Nynke Dekker publiceerde vorige week samen met onder andere prof.dr. Cees Dekker (geen familie) en prof.dr. Serge Lemay een onderzoeksartikel in Nature Physics. Dekker voorziet een revolutie in de biofysica vanwege de toename in technieken om afzonderlijke moleculen te kunnen zien, volgen en manipuleren. Eén van de gevolgen zal zijn dat genetische screening snel, goedkoop en alledaags wordt.

Editor Redactie

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