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Greg Charitonos

Greg Charitonos
Greg Charitonos

My name is Greg Charitonos. I’m a pure-bred Cypriot, hailing from Zimbabwe, where I was born and raised. Aside from the degree programme, I chose Groningen as my study destination for several of reasons, that boil down to a few key points: This beautiful city provides the means for students to venture out of their comfort zones in a manner that is safe, yet exhilarating. I have yet to find a place that encourages you to push your boundaries to the extent that Groningen does, whilst still managing to make you feel at home.

What is it like studying a Free Major at UCG?

The Free Major entails constructing a course portfolio for yourself, the kind that has likely not been trialed by other students before you. You are, in essence, carving your own path through your bachelor, and hoping the route you take ends in green pastures. Of course you are not taking this journey totally solo; your designated tutor is there to provide advice and act as a compass in uncharted terrain. My Free Major is based on the social sciences, and has a focus on influence and cognition.

The inspiration for my course portfolio was “Social Engineering”, an aspect of security that deals primarily with manipulating human beings into behaving in ways that are not in their best interest. For example, giving up your credit card details, or downloading a virus. As such, I have followed courses like “Cognitive Psychology”, “Social Influence” and “Human Factors and Human Error”. Alongside this, I have more technical courses including “Introduction to Programming” and “Computational Methods of Science”. These provide an element of cyberspace to my degree, which would prove important, as Social Engineering is increasingly more prevalent in cybersecurity circles.

What is the most useful skill you have learned at UCG?

Lateral thinking. It’s something that comes with interdisciplinary approaches to problems, but that I think is under-emphasised. Being able to see patterns, where others do not, allows for solutions to problems that would otherwise prove impossible, from a narrow mono-discipline approach.

What is your favourite thing about UCG?

The people! Never have I felt so at home in a place, than at UCG. Everyone is warm and easy to connect to. There’s a general family-feel to the faculty, and a deep sense of trust towards everyone.

Is there any advice you could give to prospective UCG students?

If you feel confused, overwhelmed, or have questions, then talk to someone. Seriously, there are people that are always ready to listen to you. The second piece of advice I’d give is: if you think something could be improved, then speak up! The powers at be are waiting for your input, with eager ears! Go ahead and put forward the changes you want to see. If you’re absolutely passionate about making a difference, then consider applying for the Faculty Council, or Program Committee, and play a part in shaping your faculty and academic program for years to come! Most of all, remember to breathe, and enjoy yourself.

You’re here to study, but also for the whole university experience — and that goes well beyond the classroom.

Last modified:29 September 2021 5.04 p.m.