Oud-leerling vertelt: ‘What are you studying for?’

Oudleerling Pepijn studeert momenteel electrotechniek aan de universiteit in Twente. Hij heeft ervoor gekozen om daar deel te nemen aan het “Greenteam”. Dit is een team van studenten van diverse opleidingen die samen een auto op waterstof ontwikkelen voor een internationale race. In een (Engelstalig) artikel in het tijdschrift voor studenten electrotechniek schrijft hij hierover. Het zou te ver gaan om het hele, zeer technische, artikel hier af te drukken, maar in de eerste alinea’s schrijft hij over zijn visie op leren en onderwijs: daar herken ik toch nog heel wat “Aventurijn-invloeden”….

 What are you studying for?

This is a question I think about a lot, and can be answered at several levels.
Why I chose to study EE ( electronic engineer) is simple, though maybe unusual: I had a well-paying job as a
software developer but became really interested in electronics through Arduino (open source computerplatform) and decided  I want to learn more.On a deeper and more interesting level, I ask myself: what is my ambition, the goal, the
purpose of it all? Some don’t have much ambition beyond passing exams and getting a job.
Others strive for perfect grades, a cum laude degree, and are likely to join a honours
programme. And then there is the group that includes me, that want to deeply understand
things and apply their knowledge, who have their desk full of wires and breadboards at all
times.I want to make the case that deep understanding and practical experience is the only thing
that matters. My former employer even went so far as to say that in 10 years, no one will
care about your degree, and you’re solely defined by what you do.Good grades don’t necessarily make good engineers. I know people on the verge of getting
a negative BSA that I would hire instantly due to their insight, intuition and experience. I also
know people with nines and tens that are sometimes surprisingly confused about things one
step away from exam material.

I recently joined the Green Team to work on the electronics of their hydrogen car, and I think
it’s one of the best ways to apply your knowledge and gain practical experience. It is also
much closer to a real work environment than the carefully curated educational environment
we live in.(…)real-world problems seldom come in textbook questions
with nice answers.(…)

Posted in: Algemeen.