Meet our columnists

The UK is welcoming three new student columnists in the coming weeks. Two internationals (James Young and Marion Robinson) will share their thoughts on the RUG on alternating weeks, and Wouter Sipma will leapfrog over Gerrit Breeuwsma’s weeks. Here is a short introduction for our recent additions.

Wouter Sipma

Who is Wouter Sipma?

Wouter Sipma is 23, born and raised in the town of Hijken in the province of Drenthe, and a seventh year student. Already studying for seven years at age 23? ‘Um, yeah. I skipped a grade once.’ And do seventh year students even exist anymore? ‘I’m combining my physics studies with draughts, so I qualify for the Students Topsport Regulation. That means that it’s taking me a little longer to graduate. I play in six or seven big tournaments a year, and I have training each month in Papendal.’ What does he intend to do with his physics studies? ‘Honestly? No idea.’

What sorts of things will you be writing about?

‘I think it’s nice to write about things that you do outside the classroom, like playing a sport, like I do, or being a board member of a student organisation or running your own start up, and how those things can make it worthwhile to take your time before graduating. I also think it’s important to write about how the RUG presents itself. What does the university want to be, and how can it achieve that? How can the university preserve what is unique in light of ever more internationalisation?’

What do you think makes a successful column?

‘If I can find an original angle. If people say, ‘Hey, I’d never thought about it that way. I have to tell people about this.’ I think that a positive tone is also important. I hope to make people feel a little bit more optimistic and positive. Students complain enough as it is.’

James Young

Who is James Young?

Abandoned as an infant high in the mountains of Colorado, James was taken in and raised by a family of marmots. They trained him in the art of satire, but warned him: ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ He didn’t understand the truth of their words until his adopted rodent brother, Donald Trump’s hair, turned to the dark side.

James could only sit by and watch, helpless and appalled, as his evil brother meme’d his way to the White House. Forever changed by what he had seen, James fled to The Netherlands and vowed to always use his powers for good.

What sorts of things will you be writing about?

My role as a columnist is to produce the finest specimens of clumsily executed satire possible. Anything’s fair game, and by the time I’m done I hope everyone’s had to stop and think at least once. But whether I’m a hero exposing the absurdity of our society through humor or an internet troll that’s somehow conned his way into a legitimate media outlet is up to you.

What do you think makes a successful column?

Of course the ultimate success of this column would be to conquer the world, however I am a realist: in the short term I would settle for simply being recognized on the street by a single person.

Marion Robinson

Who is Marion Robinson?

I am from the beautiful and renowned island of Jamaica in the Caribbean and I came to the Netherlands to pursue my second Master’s degree in Clinical Neuropsychology. Although the contrast between both countries are very evident (especially in relation to the weather), the Netherlands is the first country outside of Jamaica that I have lived in that I would consider calling my second home.

What sorts of things will you be writing about?

Recently I’ve found cultural influences in Psychology an appealing sub-specialty. Therefore, I’ll often write about my experience navigating a culture that’s dissimilar to the one that I grew up in. I tend to write reflectively – as though I’m having a conversation with myself. As a result, my columns will give readers a peek into my thought process of dissecting a particular topic, which will hopefully leave them thinking as well.

What do you think makes a successful column?

I believe that what makes a column successful is honesty – not just in content, but in the emotion and intention that the words express. A successful column contains the best arrangement of words which, when placed together, create an emotional connectedness to the subject matter that lingers in the reader’s mind.

Photos by Reyer Boxem


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