A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Leiden is great. Leiden University is also great. That’s no doubt, I will never stop being thankful that I got the opportunity to do my MA in one of the most prestigious schools in the world. Yet, if you never have something to complain about here, that’d be weird. That’d be a bit un-Dutch even. 😛
Probably the thing that frustrates us students the most is the administration. Well, that’s a very typical thing that will challenge your love for the Netherlands. I have talked elsewhere about how “usis is useless” (yes that’s not just me saying) and why the systems don’t bother to make our academic life any easier. Now please excuse me because I have to rant about miscommunication and inconsistency of information that is displayed in public, which means it is official and for everyone to read and follow.
So before I wrote I thesis I came across two completely different deadlines, one in the e-prospectus and one in the Thesis Protocol. (Notably I did not receive any official instruction, my thesis supervisor also had no idea and asked me to ask someone else.) I emailed our program coordinator and turned out, the former was simply outdated and the latter was correct. No big deal. It was just 1 month earlier than what I assumed from reading the e-prospectus so I had a tiny panic attack and really rushed to finish it on time. The good thing is that I’m done very early and have a lot of time to spare; the slightly bad thing is that I found out I can submit it one month later than the “official” deadline stated on the Thesis Protocol!!! My friend’s supervisor, who is exactly the one who wrote that Thesis Protocol, actually told her that the deadline that I thought we need to submit our final thesis is the one for the first draft. Now who and what should I believe???
Then the thing about the second reader, it is written nowhere and mentioned by no one how the second reader will be appointed. It was only until my supervisor emailed me that I realized I get to choose my second reader. But, the weird thing is that when I asked my friend whose second reader is going to be my supervisor, she said that she emailed my supervisor previously to ask her to become her second reader and my supervisor replied her that she cannot decide because it is up to the committee. I know it sounds really confusing, it still confuses the hell out of me. Why can’t there be just one and only line of information? 🙁
Anyhow, they are just trivia. We are adults, we are graduate students and we will figure things out eventually. Still, I can’t help but venting it out a little bit. We can be saved from such confusion and frustration just by very simple measures, and it all comes to administration… What we can really do, from my experience, is to keep calm and ask around. It’s even greater if you have friends who completed their BA in Leiden – they went through all of this and they may know something that you do not. The most obvious solution is, of course, try to contact the officials and “bother” them until everything is bright and clear 🙂