Six first-year Chemistry students began their studies with an extra scholarship. They were awarded these on the basis of their motivation and school results. Science LinX interviewed three of them about a month after their studies began. Last but not least was Taco Tjalma from Marwijksoord (near Assen). He received a scholarship of EUR 1,835 from the Backer Foundation, named after the University of Groningen chemist Hilmar Johannes Backer.
Why did you choose chemistry?
‘I liked the sciences at school, especially Chemistry. I considered studying Medicine or Biomedical Sciences, but Chemistry is a very broad subject, and I liked that. I also considered studying in Amsterdam rather than Groningen, but the University of Groningen’s ‘Student for a Day’ programme meant I could see for myself what it was like, whereas Amsterdam didn’t have anything like that. That settled it for me, and I decided to come to Groningen.’
C hemistry has a reputation of being difficult
‘I think I can handle it. My Chemistry teacher at school really encouraged me too. It doesn’t really bother me that I’m now surrounded by hard-core scientists. I’ve also joined a student association, where you get to know students from other faculties too.’
How are you doing so far?
‘We have a lot of contact hours, especially if I compare it with a housemate of mine who is studying Psychology. But I can keep up and I find the programme very interesting. There is very little repetition in the programme, and the pace is much faster than at school.
All in all, it is what I expected; I knew it wouldn’t be a walk in the park. The programme is in English, but that isn’t a problem either: I can understand everything. Mind you, I did put some extra effort into my English in my final year at school.’
Any idea what you want to do with your degree?
‘I’d preferably like to work for a big company where you can work on projects with other experts. My plan is to study Chemical Engineering, possibly with Chemistry as a second Bachelor’s programme.’
How does the extra scholarship help?
‘I see the scholarship as extra motivation to work harder. It’s a vote of confidence, so I don’t want to let anyone down.’
Do you do anything besides your studies?
‘I’m a member of the
student association, and we’re currently in the middle of our integration period. That takes up two evenings a week at the moment. I’ve also joined the student windsurfing society
. I’ve been windsurfing for years, with my father and brother. We often go to Lauwersoog, near the Wadden Sea. I also work out at
, the student sports centre.’
Harmen studies Chemistry
Priscilla studies Chemistry
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