Know your Dispuut- Reflections on the board year
“To put it simply, the student board is here to help students in any way possible, make them happy and ease their time at TU Delft”, says Lyke van Dalen, former Chairwoman of Dispuut Prescott Joule. Sounds quite simple, but there is a lot of behind the scenes action that we want to unravel. So, we sat down one Saturday morning with Lyke to discuss the responsibilities of the Dispuut, the role of the student body in it and how to make the best of our time at TU Delft.
What started off as an organisation solely concerned with organising events, has evolved over the years into a group of students working to assist fellow EFPT’ers through their graduate school journey. To many of us, the welcome week organised by the board has been our formal introduction to the department. The board has 6 members with different portfolios namely: the Chairwoman/man, Treasurer, Commissioner of education, Commissioner of events and communication, Commissioner of external affairs and Study-tour commissioner. They are assisted in their roles by a group of students who form the respective committees. We might not realise this, but the Education committee works quite closely with Prof.Brian and the EFPT staff to voice student concerns on courses, provide feedback to the professors and help improve the overall student experience. Things look very different now but for many of us the EFPT Friday drinks was the perfect avenue to blow off some steam, meet new people and flaunt our beer pong skills. In addition to social events like the EPT drinks or Christmas dinner, the Events and Communication committee organises formal events such as thesis day or company lectures. The External affairs committee works closely with companies to organise dinners and information sessions on the Netherlands job market and how to approach the job-hunt process. The board is adapting to the new normal as well and we have exciting information that students can expect a modified study tour this time around.
“At the end of the day, we are a group of 6 students trying to organise stuff. We try many things. Some work, some don’t. But everything is a lesson for the coming boards”. A year is quite short to propose and execute larger ideas. So, current and previous boards work quite closely on new initiatives, the most recent ones being the ‘Our TU’and Mentor-alumni program. She says both the programs have been successful and provided some valuable insights into what students expect. I think we can all agree that TU Delft is quite an overwhelming experience and the Our TU initiative aims at creating a safe space and avenue for new students to seek guidance. Having a 2nd year student as a coach helps newcomers to navigate the system, seek help on course related issues and hopefully have a buddy to talk to. At the end of its debut year, Our TU has definitely helped students in terms of education although there is still work to be done in terms of social interaction and creating more personal connections. The mentor-alumni program was also started with a similar aim to connect students with alumni who can share their insights into life after graduating from the Master programme. In addition to successfully matching students with alumni, the program was an opportunity for the board to sense the pulse of the students and curate suitable events in the future.
Every board year is a roller coaster of ups and downs and the previous year had the added challenge of adapting to a new method of education. So we asked Lyke to share the takeaways from her experience with being the chairwoman. “ To ‘Just do it’. I am a perfectionist and want things meticulously planned before execution. But during the board year, I realised that there is only a finite amount of time in the planning phase and things have to be set in motion as soon as possible”. She urges students to seek out such opportunities to move out of the comfort zone and make the best use of opportunities at TU Delft. Forging connections beyond the classroom, becoming a part of international organisations, joining clubs based on personal interests are just some of the few things that students can do to cope with the academic stress. Not all students have the luxury to take things slowly and often all of us are in the same boat trying to wade through choppy waters. Mental and physical health often take a back seat. But it has never been more important and necessary to seek out professional guidance through the counsellor or psychologists. The career and counselling service at TU Delft offers a variety of programmes, career and educational counselling services – all done in a professional and confidential setting. She adds, “Most often than not, people don’t realise that they need help. Just remember that you are not alone in this journey and the board is here to alleviate your concerns as much as possible”. With that happy note, we look forward to an eventful year with the new board of Dispuut Prescott Joule!!