Mind-The-Gap Year

Photo from: Museums Victoria on Unplash

In the past year or so I’ve been quite busy trying to figure out where I stand in life. 2019 was quite a busy year for me, when I take in account the things I’ve tried. In the beginning of the year, I managed to fail getting an internship abroad. I wanted to go to Finland, but I kept clinging too much on one company. I think the failure was a mix of me communicating poorly with them and them not really understanding what the requirements are of our university. Then I spent 1 month trying to get something here in the Netherlands, I came very close to getting an internship. I sent out more than 50 application e-mails. 2 companies were interested, one eventually let me know they weren’t interested in me after all and the other committed to me but decided I was too risky of a pick. That means I had no internship, so I spent the 6 months working and trying out new stuff. I felt like this was the time I needed to get my life on track. Up until then, I’ve spent about 17-18 continuous years in education (primary – 8 years, secondary education – 4 years, vocational education – 3 years, UAS – 2-3 years). I already managed to get depressed about 2 years earlier from that point.

During that timespace, I scaled up the hours I worked at a distribution centre of one of the biggest retail companies in the country. At first, I worked only on Saturdays, as that meant that I didn’t have to mess around with my school schedule during the week. I decided to work 3 days a week, as I wanted to have time to try stuff and work on my personal development. My confidence was pretty low, I was quite broken from the recent failures. It actually took like 2-3 weeks before I had the guts to ask the manager of the department whether I could work additional days. Even so, proactivity is the best antidote to a low self-confidence. I remember there was an ad in a local newspaper, it was about a course teaching you how to produce music with Ableton Live – a Digital Audio Workstation. It was pretty amazing, I finished it, but my low self-confidence prevented me from continuing with it. I had no feel with the digital instruments, as I didn’t play any real instruments at the time (I’ve played the keyboard for like 2 years, but that was at least 10 years ago). Even though I had the theoretical knowledge from the course, I was mostly clueless about what I was doing. I got really positive feedback on the music I made from the guy who made the course and a producer-duo which are befriended with him. It was great work for someone who just started 30 days ago, apparently.

Besides this, I spent quite some time reading books. I even read Capital In The 21st Centry by Thomas Piketty and Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. For some reason, I was also studying the concept of ‘giftedness’. I visited some lectures of the Dutch gifted adults foundation and ended up taking the Mensa test. I failed the test quite miserably, but I didn’t really care. It felt like I could do better at a second try if I wanted to. Besides this, I had this idea of trying a high-level math course. Enrolled in it, went on with it for 1-2 months, then quit it. In the beginning I liked it because I was learning something new and the challenge was welcome. But then, when I bumped into general mathematical rules, I quickly started hating it. It’s not that I hate math, I just have trouble with rigidly structured programs from time to time. I actually managed to do really well in the statistics classes I had during my study programme, because I liked the challenge. Rote-memorization has never been my thing, I need to actively challenge and work on concepts to get to know them well. So, that’s when summer holidays kicked in and I was about to get to my final school courses.

In this second half of 2019, things started a-new again. During the holidays, I was reading a book called Singing In The Brain, written by Dutch neuroscientist Erik Scherder. In this book, the author wrote how music contributes to the different parts of the brain. I thought the conclusions on the research were so incredible, that I decided to give music another try. So that’s when I started to play to bass guitar. At first, I actually wanted to try the electric guitar, but the bass seemed to stick. I don’t have to be the frontman screaming things (no offence, Kurt), I can just do my thing on the side. I’ll be to one giving people confidence in their play on the stage, just like I used to do in League of Legends.

In the summer I quit the side-job in the distribution centre, after I got pretty pissed when they mistreated a colleague I eventually befriended. Not like I was the best employee, but certainly one of the most reliable ones. I’ve done enough crazy shit there, like driving a pulling-cart weighing about 800kg on two wheels. I hated the pulling carts so much, all the other tasks were physically demanding and then you get this cart which reminds me of those fat-burner machines. It shakes your legs, all the time. You don’t get to sit. Anyway, I went to the other side of the road, this is where big retailer corp. had their base of operations for the digital side-business they started to develop since March of that year. Also physically demanding work, as I was an orderpicker. But less so, except when a customer orders like 30-40kg’s of bananas. The place was set-up for regular consumers, yet they also did business orders whenever they got them.

Those last 2-3 months of the year aren’t really that noteworthy. I went to school and learnt some stuff about supply chains, I managed to get my internship at Seafood corp. (a start-up focused on bringing seaweed to the regular consumer market) and continued playing the bass. In the meantime, I was reading about HSP (High-Sensitivity). In December I decided to go to a coach, as I felt I was getting little value out of the talks with my psychologist. Eventually I learned that the psychologists are only as valuable as your preparation, if you don’t have much to say, expect a short chat. Keep a journal and write what you experience in it, you can always use it as a catalyst for learning and self-exploration. Next to this, a schoolproject about supply chains started to go pretty sour. And something very unexpected started happening at the side-job at retailer webshop corp. I’ll get on this in the next post.

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