Leaving Wageningen is a strange thing. I always knew the day would come; we all do. But when it actually does, I bet there’s not one among us without a stingy heart.
I met incredible people along the way. The most amazing characters! Patrons and Lady Margarets, self-proclaimed experimental doctors, mijitos and Shisha Queens, Italian party girls and crazy-wise for their age Belgians with silly nicknames. If I had to thank Wageningen for a single thing, no doubt they would be it.
In a sense, I’m not even leaving Wageningen.
An advice for all newcomers: learn everything you can from your lectures, but learn a lot more from the people you meet. After all, while in Wageningen, you’ll only have each other. And suddenly, too suddenly, a few hugs and laughs, a beer or two or twelve, an improvised speech, and you are gone. Just another pitstop.
Ah, but what a pitstop! Isn’t it? The best I’ve seen, that much I know.
With a very small bunch, I’ll keep in touch; most I’ll never see again. I know that. But hey, I’m not sad, remember? The ephemerality of a WUR friendship is what makes it so freaking special.
It’s a challenge, befriending other cultures and opposing world views. I think I did well; I’m sure you’ll do too. Then we’ll go to wherever it is we are going, doesn’t really matter, and we’ll scatter that beautiful and urgently needed ideal which makes WUR be WUR: our greatest strength is in our differences.
That may be the most valuable lesson I’ve learned.
You do not leave that kind of thing behind. Once you’ve lived it, it sticks with you forever. So no, there is no need to be sad. In a sense, I’m not even leaving Wageningen. I’m rather taking it with me, spreading it around.