Seneca said, “Life is not short as long as you know how to use it.”

In the beginning of May, I went to Keukenhof to see the most beautiful tulips with my high school friend. The park is designed to show flower bulbs with various landscape. AND I finally saw the windmill here in the Netherlands for the first time though I’ve been staying here almost 4 months. I would recommend you to visit the garden a bit earlier to capture the blooming moment of tulpomania. On the way back to Amsterdam, the song “Wonderwall” by Oasis was playing in the radio. The song evoked vivid memories of me staying in one of the local bars in Barcelona in March. I crave the smell of the tulips, the melody of a familiar song, and the memory of heart warming companionship.

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I also went sightseeing in Cologne and Mannheim for the first time! By the way, I never thought “sunny and rainy” would be used together to describe the weather until I saw it. Sunshine chases away the gloomy part of the sky, and suddenly I felt maybe it’s not that bad to have rain.

So I visited Kolner Dom first and had a nice pork knuckle meal with my friend. We walked along the Rhine river and enjoyed the scenic view.

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We spent almost the whole afternoon chatting and talking about our feelings of exchange experiences at one of her favourite coffee places. She is currently doing master exchange in Cologne University. We shared our bittersweet feelings on the first day of arrival in Europe. She said she was devastated to know all shops are closed when she just arrived in Cologne on Sunday. No matter how horrible or fruitful experience we’ve had, both of us knew we would benefit from it for our future. All of the drama, all of the decision making, all of the growing pains taught us how to better be ourselves. Carpe Diem.

The next day, I took carpool to visit my friend in Mannheim. The moment of hugging and chitchat with each other seemed as if it all happened yesterday, as the taste of nostalgia drifts in the air. The baroque style of Mannheim Palace with University of Mannheim looks impressive. As one of Germany’s most varied metropolises, it displayed its cosmopolitan flair.

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Do you remember the picture I posted about marshmallow challenge of my Marketing Innovation class? We discussed topics of the innovation knowledge, incremental and radical innovation, launch of the digital product through out the semester. It’s great that we also get a chance to have a small gathering at Lab after class.

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Two weeks ago, another group of mine was working on e-documentary project for two full days! It’s not exaggeration to say we were pushing our limits for this project. Writing scripts, using new animation platform, recording fulfill my weekend. Working with my lovely teammates just made my day.

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3 thoughts I’d like to share with you.

1. Discussions/debates on my tutorial classes suit my new way of habitual thinking which is seeing both sides of the problem. Frankly, this approach inhibits me from decision making effectively. My divided mind contrasts pros and cons all the time which I hate. I hope I could be more decisive in the future.

2.  “It depends.”

For most of the business cases, there is no best way to organize a corporation as what contingency theory suggested. Instead, the optimal choice is contingent upon the situation. Nevertheless, my divided mind has suffered from saying “it depends” 80% of the time. Any suggestions?

3.  Don’t eat too many stroopwafels and croquettes. 🙂

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(Source: Brainpickings 2017)

People always say life is short. This saying has been engraved in my mind till I read Seneca’s book “The shortness of life”. Seneca said, “life is not short as long as you know how to use it. ”

Alas, he is right, isn’t he. I wasn’t saying what we’ve been told and reminded that life is short was wrong, but Seneca’s way of saying gives us a hint about how we shall spend our lives.

Sometimes, we fail to treat time as a valuable resource, rather take it as granted. Jotting down notes on new year resolution year after year is useless. Be self-aware and self-actualized, becoming a young entrepreneur or a leader and keep challenging yourself. I wish I could really find what I truly like, who I want to be as I grow up. “To what goal are you straining?” Seneca said, ” The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.” How about getting nominated on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 List, deliver a speech at TED talk or just find a master and learn from him/her?

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(Source: Brainpickings 2017)

Last but not least, I agree with what Mark Zuckerberg delivered in Harvard commencement,” Ideas don’t come out fully formed. They only become clear as you work on them. You just have to get started.” I would happily say good bye to my role as a master student and welcome my next chapter of my life. On my mark, get set, go.

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May 28, 2017

Zhenni Cai

New journey begins @Maastricht

A Marvellous Journey

I’m an international student from China, but I’ve been studying and living in Canada for more than 6 years. I guess it’s a smart decision to escape Canada from the snowy season in Feb (I still love Canada!).  I’m in Master of International Business at Queen’s Smith Business School, and currently doing my master exchange at Maastricht University.

After celebrating Spring Festival with my parents in Jan, I was busy in packing and preparing for my Euro Trip. It took me more than 30 hours to fly from Da Lian, China to Amsterdam, Netherlands (long story). Then I took train to Maastricht right after my flight for 2.5 hrs. (Tip: I would recommend you in asking the staff to print out your schedule, thus you know when to transfer.) I cannot imagine me with two 23kg luggages would survive without the pick-up service from ISN. (Thanks Sebastian from ISN!).

Introduction Day

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I received my student card & admission letter in the morning. All exchange students receive warm welcome from Dean of SBE, Dr. W.H. Gijselaers, and last but not least politie. (Tip: You may also ask for the letter which is one of the documents you would need from Student Services Centre in order to open a Dutch bank account.) In the afternoon, everyone was assigned to a group of people for taking a city tour. It’s a cozy city which has decent number of supermarkets, shopping stores and restaurants. I enjoyed it though my feet disagree with it.

Welcome drinks * 8

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I signed up the Pub Crawl event hosted by ISN on Feb 2nd. More than 400 people show up in the Markt at 8:30pm and waiting to be surprised by checking out 6 clubs till midnight. It’s an amazing experience since you could meet groups of people from all around the world, you name it, and yes we got lots of shots. I’m also glad that most of people I’ve met speak English here. On the other day, we had PBL simulation and learned how tutors would facilitate the session. And 2 more welcome drinks awaits!

What’s more? 

On a sunny day, a lady came to me and ask if she could take a picture of me. Guess what, I got featured by Humans of Maastricht!

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(Photo Credit to V @Humans of Maastricht)

So did I have any difficulties along the way?

Of course. It’s challenging to study and live abroad, though this is my second time. But I believe that as long as I have an open and optimistic mind, I will be fine. I would like show my gratitude to the nicest driver – Nacho, lovely Buddy – Caroline, omniscient knowledgeable friend – Eric, new friend – Guo Ai, and sweet MIB classmates from Queens. Thank you for helping me to figure out where I can buy travel adapter, the most convenient way to purchase a train ticket, and where I could have delicious Asian food….Dankuwel! Looking forward to my exchange journey!

Stay tuned.

Feb 10th, 2017

Jane Cai

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