The road leads to… Rotterdam

It turns out all ends are beginnings indeed! I’m glad to say that I have found a new adventure down the road, as I will be working as both researcher and lecturer at Hogeschool Rotterdam, or as called in English: Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.

This means that I’m saying goodbye to the world of academia, at least temporarily. Many people around me were a bit surprised about that, but it’s a choice I made deliberately, after many sessions of the Career Orientation course I followed near the end of my PhD. For that course, during one week, we had to write down what made us happy on that day. That made clear what I already knew deep down: I really enjoy putting my knowledge into practice and education. Presenting my results to nurses, for example, gave me as much as energy as seeing my students improve their work and skills. What better place to seek such energy sources than at a University of Applied Sciences?

Coincidentally (or not), there was a job opening that matched with my wishes…. but I didn’t match very well with its requirements, as they were looking for a researcher/lecturer in nursing. As you all know, I’m not quite a nurse! Luckily, I could convince them that I have enough experience to guide future nurses in doing research within their field, and do some research myself. I’m very happy with that, but I have to admit that it’s a frightening leap in the unknown, too. Leaving academia, Wageningen AND nutrition… terrifying!

It’s been a month since I started and I’m learning something new each day, which chips off something of the unknown day by day. I’m getting to know the type of courses the students follow by walking along with them, and hopefully I will get assigned my own courses too soon. I enjoy the atmosphere at the school and absolutely love the high variation in student characteristics within the School of Health Care Studies. That’s a big perk of working in Rotterdam! For now, big enough to sacrifice four hours a day on commuting… as I still live in Wageningen. Still, every time I leave work, I realize that I learned so much today, that it’s worth the effort!

I feel much more overwhelmed regarding my research work within Research Centre Innovations in Care, and I’m trying to understand everything by reading, reading, reading… a whole bunch of background literature. I realize that it’s a common feeling after you finalize your PhD thesis, after all, you knew EVERYTHING about that after all those years. Now, I’m back to square one, but perhaps a little more than other who stay within their own field. All those guidelines, abbreviations and articles apparently everyone knows about except for me… help! Luckily, the two applied professors I work with, Ton Bakker and Jacomine de Lange, are very patient with me, and provide me with all the time and explanation I need to get up to speed. Funny detail: I worked with Jacomine during my internship at Trimbos-instituut, so now we meet again in Rotterdam! It’s a small nurysing world, and although it feels like super big to me now, I really enjoy exploring it.

Let’s do this!