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(Dave Bruggeling, 19 Sociology student)

“In kindergarten, my teacher wanted to move me up to primary school a year early. First I had to complete a few “challenging” tasks, such as tying my shoelaces, doing some sums and writing a few things. I didn’t do them since I was too busy playing! When I heard that there was doubt if I could move up, I completed all the tasks within a week!

While I was attending the gymnasium [the highest secondary school level in the Netherlands], my being an overachiever became a bit of an issue. I was so focused on studying that I wasn’t happy if I scored a nine out of ten. I decided I needed some extracurricular activities that I enjoyed. So I joined the school newspaper. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot. A highlight was the interview with [Rotterdam] Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb. Incidentally, I now coach students at my former secondary school.

Recently I had that panicky feeling all over again just before entering an exam. I found myself thinking, “I must get a very high mark”. That feeling faded once I started the exam. I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter whether you score a ten, a seven or even a five on occasion. Life goes on. After all, there are many other things which matter in life, and they might even be more educational. That’s the lesson I’ve learned lately. And actually, I’m quite proud of that!”

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