Graduation is almost upon us. (Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!) In less than a month, we will hear our names, walk across a stage, and be handed a diploma. We’ll have to enter the real world of adult tasks like doing our taxes, renting apartments, cooking for ourselves, and other scary things. It’s such a strange feeling to be graduating because it honestly feels like it was just yesterday when my dad dropped me off at Mercator for Orientation Week. (It was such a moment. I was like ‘Oh man – I can’t believe my dad’s not coming back. For the first in 18 years, he’s not coming back to pick me up, ever!’ It was pretty emotional but then I met lots of cool people and there was really nice food – so it was all fine.) It is wild that it has been three years since that very moment – how is that even possible? How can it feel like it passed by like a breeze when you have made so many profound memories with so many warm-hearted people? It feels like three years is just not enough.
This was us in September 2013 as little freshmen babies, and soon (on the 3rd of June, 2016!!), there will be an identical photo with us all dressed in Jacobs blue senior-graduation attire.
I decided to ask my fellow graduates some questions before we all go off on our own paths. Here is what they had to say!
–> What is your most cherished memory from the past three years?
“There are just so many amazing memories that I will take away from my time at Jacobs, be it flying in a 4-person plane with a friend who turned out to be a pilot as well, organizing a seminar with a professor dedicating his whole weekend to us without getting anything in return for it, or learning to play ultimate frisbee. Especially memorable for me was organizing our annual charity concert Piano to Forte, where a group of Syrian refugees that had temporarily been living on my floor performed a touching choir piece. I remember it as an event that embodies the inclusiveness of the Jacobs community and the endless possibilities of being able to shape life on campus as a student.” – Sophie, GEM ’16
“It was one of those warm summer nights where you would just want to stay outside the whole night- so we did. I was lying in the middle of campus green with people who I just had gotten to know and we were watching the stars in the sky. It was then that I saw shooting stars for the first time in my life. Lying there with complete strangers that were to become my friends made me realize that this is where I belong.” – Jessica, GEM ’16
“In first year I walked back to campus from the Christmas market in Bremen city (20 km) with three friends and a loaf of bread. It took us 3+ hours and it was pretty alright.” – Dana, ISS ’16
“Hanging out with my friends – just chilling on the couch for hours.” – Viktoria, IRB ’16
“This is a very difficult question to answer, I have spent a total of 4 years at Jacobs now, I have made a lot awesome friends at Jacobs, and have had at least one awesome experience with each one of them. I think overall the best experience for me however was our first Olympix, now known as Jacobs Games, in my first year. I live in College Nordmetall, and back then the college was known as the underdog, with no real shot at winning the Jacobs games. Turns out that we actually got 2nd, and of course we celebrated this afterwards in the college! It was great overall, and really showed me how my friends at uni are more than just friends, and became like a family away from my family for me.” – Felix, GEM ’16
“It is hard to choose a most cherished memory because there are so many but I would say a most cherished moment was going to Lisbon with my friends in 2nd year spring break, getting away from the stress of school having new experiences, and being in a completely new place with them made me realize I had made friends for life, which is rare and special.” – Safiya, IPH ’16
“When I did my best for the courses I really enjoyed, learned a lot of new things, and got a good score in the end!” – Yiqiong, GEM ’16
“Time that I spent with my friends, like singing together, taking a walk together, running together, going swimming together, baking together, living together, traveling together… Those are all very great memories for me.” – Jiaqi, Logistics ’16
“Finding my best Jacobs University memory is not an easy task, because memories are made on a daily basis. However, one of the times of the year I most look forward to are the Jacobs Games. I really like the spirit that surrounds every college and the different events that are done to enhance the community feeling within the colleges. The event that I look most forward to is cheerleading. I cannot wait to see what every college has prepared because every year the performances became even more impressive. During my second year, I also took part in cheerleading. Our college worked really hard practicing at very odd hours and places, and even though we did not win, I was still very satisfied because I knew that my team and I did the best we could. To me, winning is not that important. I would rather play, have fun, and enjoy the time spent with my friends. Jacobs Games truly represents the Jacobs spirit, where students get together, have fun, and make unforgettable memories.” – Glendi, GEM ’16
“The first time I sang with J-cappella on stage during 2013 Piano to Forte; also, the first time I played the piano in public, so that was pretty exciting for me.” – Cecily, BCCB ’16
–> What’s your advice to all incoming freshmen?
“Jacobs is a special place that isn’t only filled with diversity but moreover many opportunities. It is best to keep an open mind, try out new activities, and discuss ideas and concepts with the people around you. This is the best way to learn – where you take in just as much outside of your classes as in your seminars and labs.” – Lara, ISS ‘16
“I have always been an ambitious and hard-working student. But Jacobs and my exchange semester at Harvard truly taught me that happiness is not just a product of academic success or career advancement but that spending quality time with friends, keeping in touch with your family or making time for a meditative run along the beautiful Lesum river is just as important for being happy. Be brave enough to admit your achievements and your difficulties to your fellow students because you will realize that your friends like you for who you are and not just for your grades or internships.” – Sophie, GEM ’16
“My advice to all incoming freshmen is to spend lots of time in the Coffeebar. And to go to Knoops Park. And the river!” – Dana, ISS ’16
“Don’t worry if you are not a super social person and you don’t feel like going to all kinds of campus events, you can find amazing friends in classes or by accident as well!” – Viktoria, IRB ’16
“My number one advice, which is astonishing coming from me, is “don’t worry!” University is very different from high school, and you will feel lost at times, and the beginning of your first semester will be filled with questions. And all of that is perfectly fine! It was the first time living away from my own home, and I was homesick even though I was still in the same country. Looking back at it now, I don’t understand why I was so worried. Everything will fit into place, and you will make some awesome friends at Uni.” – Felix, GEM ’16
“If you’re ever undecided on whether to stay home or go out to that party/casual game of football/workshop/or whatever, go out.” – Gautam, Physics ’16
“My advice to the incoming freshmen is: Enjoy college! Don’t stress yourself out by taking way too many credits that you have no time to do anything else. Meet people from different places and talk to them, be open. After all, that’s what the international campus is all about, right?” – Jiaqi, Logistics ’16
“You might be tired, stressed out with a lot of stuff going on, but never miss out on an opportunity to go searching for that bunker in the middle of the night. It’s not all the academic knowledge you will remember but it’s those nights that you spend with people that are to become your friends, even your family, that are going to make Jacobs an experience you would not want to miss for the world.” – Jessica, GEM ’16
“My advice to incoming freshmen would be to: not to be too hard on yourself in the first semester. Yes, study and try to manage your time well, but, don’t downplay how big of a change it is to relocate internationally, start uni, and meet new people. It can throw you off at the beginning but once you have gotten into campus life and have settled in, of course it becomes much easier to balance your studies and personal life :)” – Safiya, IPH ’16
“Work hard, play hard.” – Sven, Physics ’16
“I would advise all incoming freshmen to be open minded and always try to get involved in different activities on campus. They should try not to be shy or afraid to try new experiences. Here at Jacobs, you can be a football player, cheerleader, actor and even take yoga lessons. I will graduate in less than two weeks and I regret not taking part in certain activities. I highly recommend all the incoming freshmen to get involved as much as they can and try new things, because the three years at Jacobs, believe it or not, go away really fast!” – Glendi, GEM ’16
–> What’s the most ridiculous thing you did during your time here at Jacobs?
“The most ridiculous thing was coming back to campus at 5 in the morning from Hamburg after Neonsplash, soaked in paint and wearing a trashbag.” – Viktoria, IRB ’16
“My roommate and I came up with a games-room tournament event where the losers would have to dip their bellybuttons in the duck pond. We were really proud of the idea. We were, however, not so proud when we had to dip our bellybuttons in the pond.” – Dana, ISS ’16
“Rumor has it that there is a bunker on campus that can be entered. This one rainy November night, some friends and I decided that we could not leave Jacobs without having been to the bunker. After spending two hours in pouring rain and darkness, running around campus, all we found was the entrance to the sewer system. So, the legend of the bunker still remains for me. Oh, also, there was this one time we decided to go to Madrid for two days and paid 20€ entrance to get into a Spanish club.” – Jessica, GEM ’16
“Joining the rugby team in my first year and playing in near freezing weather while wearing shorts.” – Max, Physics ’16
“I have done some ridiculous things. I think the most ridiculous thing I have done was staying awake for 48 hours straight. I was still in my first semester, and completely underestimated the scope of one of my assignments. One thing led to another, and I ended up working for 48 hours faster than I expected.” – Felix, GEM ’16
“The only thing I can think of right now is the time that I locked myself out at 4 a.m because I “thought” I heard somebody knocking on my door… and I had to call the porters…” – Cecily, BCCB ’16
“When my friends and I went to a Neonsplash concert in Hamburg (basically a huge party where they throw around neon colors). We drove to Hamburg central station using our semester tickets but then had to fight for bus seats to get us to the venue. The party itself was great but we ended up leaving at around 4am again where the bus drivers insisted on us putting on trash bags. We arrived on campus at around 7am again with faces of dried paint and wearing trash bags. After an hour of showering, we all went to bed and slept through Sunday brunch. I think we will all remember the logistical challenges and the hilarious feeling of running through Hamburg and Bremen looking like aliens forever.” – Sophie, GEM ’16
My advice would be: If you’re an incoming freshmen – prepare to embark on the fastest and most refreshing three years of your life. If you’re currently at Jacobs, embrace all that there is to offer because before you know it, you’ll be off to graduation! Jacobs is a really special place filled with extraordinary people, and I feel very privileged to have spent the past three years of my life in this place I have come to call home.