Dear SES,

                      I recently received the honourable task of writing you a love letter. Through this format I will attempt to show my admiration, appreciation, and veneration for you, on the eve of your 35th birthday. However, I want to be as honest with you as I have always been. Our relationship has not always been flawless and undoubtedly far from perfect. As several renowned love specialists say, a healthy relationship is one that encounters several obstacles on the way; obstacles that will be faced together, making both the involved individuals and the collective stronger. Nevertheless, these obstacles must not be fierce enough to take over the positive aspects of one’s relationship. So as a dedication to your 35th birthday and our approaching three year anniversary, I would like to take you through our journey full of the obstacles and challenges we have faced together, on our way to eternal greatness.

 

Activity Committee 18/19

It all started about two and half years ago, in August 2017, when I was drafted into group 86 of the Intreeweek. I remember greatly enjoying this week as I met some great people and felt warmly welcomed by you. I was positively surprised by the open and amiable attitude I encountered in the first few weeks of the new academic year. But as all current third years know, the tables quickly turned…

As the perceived distance between the first years and experienced association members grew, the attendance at the Sander’s borrels decreased. Was it the coincidental lack of interest of the new members, was the board simply not able to focus on the first years, or was it the tedious music always played at Sander’s? I blame all three of them, albeit all to a different extent. Anyway, the initial butterflies I felt for you quickly started to fade away as I could simply not feel connected to you nor felt a strong sense of being welcome to join this perceived close group of friends. 

A gap between us seemed to grow, the excitement in our eyes started to fade away, our love was at the edge of breaking. Inevitably I felt intimated and a bit overawed. I started losing interest in you and joined my first year friends in their all but positive opinions about you.

Moving on to my second year. Despite our rather shaky relationship, I still enjoyed being in committees and helping to organise events for you. Hence, my duties as a committee member went on and I became one of the organizers of the (in)famous Introduction Weekend of 2018. Here, I got to know the generation of students that helped me regain my love for you as they made me realise that you were maybe not that bad and boring after all. The difference between the years became undeniable when the committee made a profit of a thousand euros due to these kids being absolute alcoholic maniacs, willing to do literally anything to win some beer caps.

 

Düsseldorf – City Trip 18/19

Then shortly after, you rapidly sent me off to Düsseldorf. Barely knowing one another, the members of my committee did a great job together with the new board and organised an incredible and unforgettable weekend. I now realised that, step by step, my love and excitement for you seemed to be returning…Could it be that the stains on our hearts were slowly fading?

However, throughout the second year, I started to gradually give up on us ever being in a loveable relationship. In spite of my initial regained hope in the beginning of the year, I still did not feel truly connected to you and decided to stop caring for you anymore. It may sound harsh, but I could not take the lingering pain anymore and our love was getting out the worst of me.

 

Après-ski, Winterberg

But then the year came that our love-hate relationship started strongly tilting towards the love part, may that be more or less forced as my roommate (Mr. Kersting) was now a board member. My position as an experienced third year member also gave me this sense of carelessness. 

 

My life in Amsterdam was perfectly filled with exciting moments as I had settled into my group of friends, into my new apartment, and into the tennis court, not knowing it could even be greater with you in my life. Through the new board members, that were sneaking into my apartment now and then (I could even proudly proclaim Ms. Kovalcikova to be my hypothetical fourth roommate) I slowly started to get to know you better. This time, I did not get to know your flaws and mistakes, but your beauty and kindness instead.

I started to embrace this sense of openness and being welcome again that I encountered in the first weeks of our relationship. I felt like I finally realised what all the excitement was about and this eagerness to be a part of you. 

 

 

Although I still have my judgements about you now and then (for example I think that Disco Dolly’s is still massively overrated) I have slowly started to accept them, just as you slowly started to accept me. In order to top off the optimistic spirit we are currently upholding, I recently went on the ski trip where two of your members not only taught me how to ski, but also most likely saved me from dying (thank you Ms. de Vroome and Ms. Eisenberger). As a modern Caeser would have said; we skied, we drank, we conquered. 

 

For now, as our relationship is slowly coming to an end, I would like to sincerely thank you for all the memories, may they be good, bad, nasty, or sweet ones. You taught me when to care and how not to care, taught me how to be brave and when to step down, taught me how to love and how to let go of hate. So thank you for all, my dear SES, here’s to some great last months.*

Faithfully yours,

Sterre

*This article was written before corona screwed up our live

First published Online. Full title: A Love Letter to SES. May 2020. Volume 15, Issue 3.