Posted August 2012
It’s the way me and a friend start every sentence these days. Both landed a job just around the same time. A job, any job, the most basic work in Finland pays generously. You’re getting paid this much?? For doing what?? Lies. But it’s the reality here. A nice, comfortable reality. Just count me lucky.
On another note, back in… Was it February? Or March? I was put in place as Vice president of the residence council here. Discussing it last night, it seems that since then we have pushed the residence council far beyond its typical duties. Other than improve resident life, I have no clue what a residence council typically does. But it’s been six month now and what do we have to show? I have done my best to keep our website up-to-date, but we honestly have so much going on sometimes it’s hard to keep up on top of school and work… so I’ll just start listing what I can remember : A new gym, community sports equipment (ice skates, skis, basketballs, etc.) community bikes, bike cleanup, a rapidly growing garden (will it survive the winter?), an info desk along with info points in every building, clearer communication pathways (community white board, Facebook pages, twitter, website), student parties around twice a month, weekly BBQs since the spring, constant event planning (outdoor Eurovision, Eurocup, pizza cookout, Ukrainian party, Irish party, several camping trips, city tours, biking trips, fishing trips), a renovated common room with a TV and Wii added, a fantasy football league, and the biggest snowman Ida has ever seen. Soon to have a weekly music circle to learn and play what you like, cruises to Tallinn and Stockholm in the Fall, a welcome video, and a couple of other pleasant surprises.
I have been thanked many times over personally, written messages, handshakes from fellow residents impressed with the changes. The crazy thing is meeting students in Viikki or any other residences or campuses who know me without ever having met in the past. One student told me she feels she’s arrived at home the moment she sets foot on this street. I walk into the laundry room and find fresh baked cookies. Today, a box full of Finnish Marks. A strong community has been established. With as many students commenting on how amazing the winter was… we must be doing something right.
My own view when I started was simply… we have money… why aren’t we using it!?!? To which, it turns out money helps, but the most instrumental aspect is actually getting volunteers to help and realize that they can lead their own projects. Much of what was listed before simply comes from residents seeing everything that is going on and then saying… hey? I have this idea? Can I do it? Can I have this party? Can I put on a show? Can I? Ultimately, all the thanks for making this place great has to go straight back to every residents who have contributed.
It turns out, when someone is taking on an idea that they have proposed and they are passionate about. Well. The results are great. Rather than having an idea and saying, hey you! do this… Is simply ineffective.
As far as studies go, I’m still with a bit of the same dilemma. As the future of my CBU degree seems unclear. A shame as mentioned before, when the cross-border aspect had won me over the interactive systems programme over at Tampere University. With only one class left (which I think I’ll try and test out of), one seminar left (which I should take in the spring), and a thesis. I guess I just have to take it easy. Start back up with the Finnish courses, maybe give Russian another attempt, and hopefully a couple 3D modeling courses over at Aalto (trying to figure out what’s up with the Joopas application I put in). Looking into the future, as this Master’s ends I’d like to get into a programme tied a bit closer to my interests. From what’s available in English in Finland (Learning Finnish opens many more possibilities) maybe Human-technology interaction over at Tampere, or New media over at Aalto.
So yeah, about being rich. It’s nice and all… but this summer prosperity needs to last me the entire year 😉