Waka waka: 'Do your Task'
10 January 2017 - By Sara-Jane van der Vegt, study adviser: 'I’m rushing to work again, overly planning all my friends into my very Dutch diary and constantly checking my phone.'
So imagine, you’ve had this brilliant holiday, in a land far far away, but before you know it, you find yourself back home behind your computer, completely engaged in your work like your holiday never took place. Sound familiar?
To me it does, and it does about 7 times a year, as my colleagues constantly kindly remind me that I’m always in and out of the country, leaving them to do all the work (and I love them for it). So I’ve gotten fairly good at adjusting to my new or familiar environment. I have no problem blending in wherever (as long as I can remain my blunt and clumsy self). Seriously, I even easily pick up different accents; several colleagues have asked me what has happened to my English vocabulary after coming back from my latest international encounter.
A few weeks ago I found myself in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda cuddling baby elephants and adorable little children, sitting across the mighty gorilla’s, kayaking the river Nile and making new international friends. Life was easy, people were lovely and the countries were beautiful. Now, I’m rushing to work again, overly planning all my friends into my very Dutch diary and constantly checking my phone. Quite the difference.
How did I go from one extreme to another? How did I go from pole pole ('take it easy') to waka waka ('do your task')? From ‘let’s see what the day will bring’, to ‘I sent you an email this morning, why haven’t you answered yet?’ Don’t get me wrong, I love the Netherlands, as well as my job (just in case my boss is reading along...) and I’m proud of being a Dutchie. Whenever I travel or talk to international students I’m always quite surprised about the cultural differences and that makes me appreciate the Dutch open-minded culture even more. But people, seriously, what’s up with the stress-level, the haste and the obsessive planning?
A very wise person once told me: it’s all about your own attitude. Well pal, that’s easier said than done. But maybe, if we do it together…?
So let’s rip our diaries to shreds, take life as it comes and live in the moment! Or if that doesn’t work, I might just go on another holiday.
p.s. Dear students, please note that even after this advice attendance in class remains mandatory and we will still hold you to deadlines :).
Sara-Jane van der Vegt works as study adviser at the Graduate School of Communication. (She currently has trips planned to Munich, Brussels, Vietnam and Moscow.)