A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Tomorrow I will graduate from the two-year Research Masters I studied at the Faculty of Archaeology and will officially become an alumni of Leiden University. This also means that this is the last post I will publish here in The Leidener.
In May I finished all of my missing courses and by mid-June, after some very stressful and work-heavy weeks, I handed in my 43,582-word-long thesis. By late August I got the grades for it (with which I am very happy), and thus completed all of the credits of my RMA programme. Now only one last event is missing to close this two year endeavour: graduation.
In Leiden University you graduate from Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in a celebratory ceremony, an event were you, together with your cohort/generation, get your diploma and in which there are no thesis defenses (which does takes place on PhD graduations). This is different to what I am used to, as in many of Mexico’s universities, including the one where I did my undergraduate studies, you have to publicly defend your thesis since undergrad.
The nature of Leiden University’s graduation ceremonies varies depending on faculty and study programme, but usually there are speeches, maybe a short lecture, official photos and the famous signing in the ‘Sweat Room’, one of Leiden University’s traditions that dates back to the 18th century, in which graduates literally leave their mark in the university by signing their name on one of the walls in in the ‘Sweat Room’, one of the many inside the Academy Building in which students used to wait for their exam and dissertation results.
After the you graduate and get your diploma you join the ranks of the likes of Dutch statesman Johan de Witt, physicist Enrico Fermi, US president John Quincy Adams, DJ Armin van Buuren, as well as several members of the Dutch royal family and Nobel laureates in becoming an alumni of Leiden University.
As a Leiden alumni you have access to a number of resources, like a Mentor Network, a bi-monthly newsletter, and other tools and assistances, but personally what I think is the best about it is that you get to keep using the Leiden University Libraries and all their services, as you get lifetime access to them. You also keep your ULCN-account and uMail email address, which means for example that you can still use the university’s Wi-Fi networks.
Finishing my masters and leaving the university and the beautiful city of Leiden has a bittersweet taste, as I will greatly miss the people and places that made my stay so great. Tomorrow a very important stage of my life, experience and education will come to an end, but a new one is starting and I am ready and excited for the new adventures life will bring me.
It has truly been a pleasure writing for The Leidener these last eight months, I hope the thoughts and recommendations I shared here were useful, that they assisted in solve an issue, helped in learning something new about Leiden and being an international student in it, or at least that you, dear readers, found my words entertaining. Best of luck, thank you for reading, and until next time!