Published on: 23 December 2018
Written by: Fien Ockers

Hi Ella! Nice that you are here. Can you tell me something about yourself?

I am 21 years old and I am in my third year of the bachelor AI, but I am also doing courses from the second year. I originally come from Malden which is close to Nijmegen and I went to high school with you which was fun.

It sure was 😊 Do you have any siblings?

I have three older brothers. One is making art, he went to the art academy but then quit because he wanted to become a streamer, as in a live-streamer on the internet.

As in a youtuber?

Something like that. But it is really dope, because one time he streamed himself doing the same dance for 5 hours. I have never laughed so hard.

I am really amazed that her brother did the same dance for 5 hours and Ella says she will inquire about some video material.

I live together with my oldest brother in Nijmegen and we both love music. He is a DJ and shoutout to Mario Marini! He plays a lot of disco and boogie and he performs a lot in Nijmegen. In our house we have one wall full with records and a record player and at the other wall is my piano and guitar. My youngest brother still lives with my parents and he is busy with woodworking.

So you have quite a creative family then!

Yeah, I guess so. I am really close with my brothers, I mean I even live with one of them!

Do you have a pet?

We have a stuffed animal and we sometimes kind of pretend that he is alive. It is a dachshund and he has a very long body, almost 1 meter and I don’t really know what the purpose of it is. We kind of stole if from our cousin, because she got it from our parents, but then we took it home. His name is Moesjli, because my cousin pronounces muesli weird. Sometimes we pet him and that is a bit weird.

We actually wanted to put up a sign next to our door that said ‘Watch out, there is dog here’, but then we were afraid we had to pay dog taxes, so we didn’t do it.

You already mentioned you like music. What else do you do in your free time?

I sport a little, I sometimes do pilates or burlesque at the sport centre. For burlesque you have to dance really sexy which can be awkward, but is really fun to do.

Why did you decide to study AI?

This is a long story. For me the number one result from study choice tests was AI and biology was always the last option. As I really disliked biology at high school, I thought that this test must be correct! After high school I took a gap year, because I was still unsure what to do and I was not ready to study yet. I was also still very young back then as I skipped a grade. So, I did a meeloopdag with shoutout Sanne de Kleijn. I visited an open day at the RU and I went to the Computing Science talk, but I really felt like the only girl there and I didn’t like that. After this I went to the AI talk and it was a very nice group and I really felt at home. Franc said it was a study for social nerds, and that description fit me. I can be quite weird and sometimes awkward, but I really like people and I also like to code deep into the night.

I also looked at AI studies across the country, because I initially did not want to stay in Nijmegen. But I really liked the study in Nijmegen and I did not want to go somewhere else for the principle of moving away. I am confident I will leave Nijmegen at some point, so I chose to study AI here.

We shortly talk about other people we sometimes recognize at university from our high school and that we only casually say hi.

What did you do in your gap year?

I worked for a bit and then I went to Aruba for 3 months, because that’s where my mom comes from and half of my family lives there. I hadn’t seen my grandpa for a long time and we had never had a grown up conversation. I also went to Aruba because everyone goes abroad in their gap year, but I don’t know how people plan a whole trip around the world. I also wanted to live on Aruba, because it is my mom’s culture and it also made me understand some habits she has and taught us to do.

For example, my mom always taught me to greet everyone you meet outside. In the Netherlands people sometimes respond confused or just look grumpy. But there in Aruba it made sense because everyone was so nice to each other on the street, it felt like some sort of big village. People are friendly and greet you, but there are also men who whistle and honk their horn when you walk down the street.

Where did you stay in Aruba?

I lived with my aunt and her family. When we just had dinner and were busy with the dishes they put on salsa music and started dancing and chatting with each other. I find that so beautiful and sweet.

Did it feel as home at your aunt’s place?

Yeah it did. They also have very cute dogs, dachshunds again like Moesjli. If you are there it is ‘mi casa, su casa’, but you also have to contribute and help them with for example doing the dishes, which I like as it is my family. I am really close with my Aruban family, although I don’t see them that often. My aunt is really hip and asks about boys and stuff,  oh and she is also my landlord. She bought the house in Nijmegen as investment and she rents it to us.

Anouk walks in as she wanted to chill in the bk, but then leaves again.

I knew your mom was from Aruba, but I never knew you were so close with the rest of your family.

Yes and now my cousins have come to the Netherlands to study as there are not that many studies in Aruba.

Karcie walks in and steals a random reader from the bk (which she later returns ofc).

One of my cousins now lives in Arnhem and she is doing the art academy as well, so I indeed think creativity runs in the family. My cousin also lived for half a year with my parents when she came to the Netherlands, just as I lived at my aunt’s place. Yeah so sometimes we swap kids which is nice.

I am shortly confused how we got here, but I continue with the AI related questions.

What do you think of the study AI?

I find it quite hard. The first year went fine, although I didn’t pass two courses. The study is so intense and I want to combine it with music, but I noticed that I hardly had any time left for it. I would really like to perform and record some songs. I will finish my study, but I just need some more time to do it. I don’t know how people finish their study within three years and workout and cook for themselves and do the laundry, I also think that grown up life in general is quite hard.

I sometimes need more time to understand things and I also cannot handle stress that well. So, I  would rather do fewer courses, but do them well, than just getting by. Although I find it hard, I really like it and I am looking forward to my free electives. I will take at least 4 years to finish my bachelor, but I might want to go abroad and then I will take 4.5 years.

Franci enters the board room and sits with us.

I also noticed this with APS last year. I put a lot of time in it, but I just could not finish my essay. That is why I decided to do it the year after and then I got a very nice grade. In the first year people also do not know yet that is quite normal to drop some courses and do them later. In the first year nobody does that and in the second and third year a lot more people do that. Therefore, there is a lot of pressure in the first year, because everyone is working so hard and doing so well. And then you know people that workout besides their study or are a member of a student association or go out multiple times a week, and all of that gives you the impression that everyone is doing everything and you are doing nothing.

I can imagine that it is hard if you get that feeling.

Yes, but I also performed quite a lot in my first year. In some weekends I had two performances and because I was so busy I did not have enough time to prepare and deliver the quality I would like to.

Do you still perform often?

Currently I am not, but I would like to start performing more again. I will perform at the Dondrite gala, and I like that because it is a different kind of setting than in the back of some café. I might participate in ‘Nootuitgang’ the singer-songwriter competition of the uni. And I would really like to record some songs in the studio. I am still writing a lot of songs, because student life gives a lot of inspiration, especially mental breakdowns.

Because I saw that you performed on the Vierdaagsefeesten a year ago, are you planning on doing that again?

Not the last summer, but the one before, I performed on six of the seven evenings. That was really fun, because for most gigs you get food before and some drinks afterwards. Of course I couldn’t go out, because of my voice, but I really liked that week. It was very cool to be on a different place almost every evening. Last year I did not have time fix it, because from performances you get new ones, so it is important to stay busy. So, that is quite hard.

How about this year?

I don’t have plans yet, but I will try my best.

At this moment I realize we haven’t talked about CognAC at all yet. So I continue with those questions.

When did you became active within CognAC?

In the first year I joined the 1C and the PaparaC and that was really fun.

Which committee do you find the best?

At this moment I think the AlmanaC. Also because it is the first time we are making an almanac and it will be so pretty. Everyone stay updated and buy your almanac!

Which committees are on your wish list?

I would like to do the TraC or the WkC, because I think organizing a retreat for CognAC members is fun. But maybe I also would like to do something more serious as the SC. Currently, I have only done the creative committees, because I did the MC, I do the PaparaC each year and this year I am also in the AlmanaC.

Now I know from secret sources that Ella chairs the PaparaC.

How is it going with chairing the PaparaC?

I find it quite hard, although I learn a lot from it. Now I know that you have to learn how to delegate. I think I would rather be a member than a chair in the PaparaC, because I like to take initiative and go to an activity and take pictures. Now I am often busy with making sure one of the members goes to each activity. But I think it will be fine after relaxing in the holiday. I think some people are capable of chairing and some are not, and I unfortunately belong to the second category.

I assure Ella that I also struggled with chairing the PaparaC in my second year and that it is indeed something your need to learn.

Why do you think you have become AI*?

Because I literally asked Jorrit. I have also asked multiple people to vote for me as AI*. So, it is pretty pathetic. But I really wanted to be AI* so I asked Jorrit whether they already had an AI* and I emphasized that I really would like to be AI*. So I got out of sympathy, but I don’t care!

I laugh and reassure Ella that we also picked her because she is valuable member of CognAC by doing several committees and being a happy and friendly presence at CognAC activities.

What do you think CognAC really needs?

The almanac! I think we are a very nice study association with a lot of different activities. Oh I have an idea of doing a guacamole competition where different people make guacamole and the people that don’t participate can eat it with nacho chips and there is also tequila.

I think this is a very cool idea that we certainly should do.

The last question is a classic one: What kind of pet should CognAC have?

I should have thought about this more. I think we should do something with the smelly garden next to the board room, for example make a small zoo out of it. I am thinking about otters, because they are very cute.

I wonder whether otters are the animals that sleep hand in hand otherwise they drift apart from each other.

Yes, I think so. Or that are beavers, which are cute as well, but they have those massive tusks (=slagtanden). Or I would like to have penguins as pets, because they are my favourite animals, but it would also be sad for them to be caged. Or just puppies.

I ask whether the puppies would then be discarded when they grow and are no puppies anymore. Fortunately, Ella disagrees and we settle that puppies are not the best option.

I realize that haven’t asked about Wessel yet, so I do that quickly before the time runs out.

Are you still dating Wessel?

Yes, I am. Is this the part where I can talk about Wessel? I think Wessel is really cute and sweet and I am totally in love with him. He is a goeien jongen.

I ask Ella since when they are together and it is either since the 28th  March or the 28th of April, but she is unsure. She mentions that they also met at a CognAC activity. We talk about how many people are dating within CognAC, which are a lot.

The real final question is whether you have any shoutouts?

Yes, shoutout to Escalatiechicks, shoutout to the board, shoutout to the PaparaC, shoutout to the AlmanaC, shoutout to CognAC, shoutout to Hannah (she is my best friend but not a CognAC member, but I will let her read this) and shoutout to my parents which are on Aruba right now.