• Vivian Graham

VERONICA (3rd Year)

Up until yesterday, I felt this uncertainty about where I’ll be next year and what I’ll do. I've never had such a big decision in my hands. For undergrad, you're more secure, or your parents guide you.

In the beginning, I thought of my Master’s as an opportunity for me to sacrifice by doing something that I thought would give me tangible skills and ensure a job after I finished, but then not necessarily something I would enjoy. So, I applied to programs in management. I got rejected by all of those, which I didn’t expect, but they all required a quantitative background. So I just thought, ok, then I’ll study what I actually want to, which is sustainable development in Latin America. I applied to programs in Portugal, Barcelona, and Utrecht. Yesterday, it came down to a very tough decision, because I had already decided on Portugal. And I had kind of forgotten that I had applied for another business pre-master's in Amsterdam. After so many rejections, I guess I just assumed that I wasn't getting in. If I would have received that a month ago, I would have definitely said yes. And it was a tough decision, between ensuring that I get a good-paying job, or doing something that I like.

Then I had this call with my dad, and he essentially told me, this is your decision, I can't help you, you have to do it for yourself. As we were talking I realized how, in a way, it seemed that I was going backward instead of forward by doing this Master's, because I had been taught that we need to move away from a linear economic system that encourages waste and towards circularity.

So the issue is, if I had chosen business I would be studying a Master's that simply goes against my principles. So how am I going to do something that goes against my beliefs, and goes against what we think we should be doing in the future? In Spanish, we have a saying, which is 'quiero hacer mi granito de arena,' which means ‘I want to do my little part,’ my grain of sand. And that's how I feel about the world. I want to do my piece, and for me, it's somehow helping us move towards circularity. I want Latin America to be sustainable and to develop sustainably.

(Veronica, 3rd year, Portugal/Venezuela)


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