He has a student assistant job at the IBCoM office, works as an ambassador, participates in the Coopr Honours Project, and manages to combine it all with an active social life: Ted Hoogkamer is hard to miss, if you’re one of his fellow third-year IBCoMmers. And that’s okay, because with his positivity and a tiny hint of fun craziness, his company is a delight. With his exchange behind him and the thesis deadline drawing closer every day, Ted’s IBCoM adventure has almost come to an end. A good moment to look back on the last three years of his life. This is Humans of IBCoM: the Ted Edition.
Aussie for six months
About two seconds into our conversation, Ted mentions his exhange to Sydney for the first time, and he visibly lifts up a little. This semester abroad was something he looked forward to from the minute he set foot on our campus, and at the start of this academic year, the time was finally there. “My time in Sydney was incredible. I lived in a cute suburb called Coogee, two minutes from the beach, so you can imagine I tanned my ass off. One of my best memories is when I took a week-long road trip with three friends, playing music, singing along like crazy with this beautiful scenery. It was just before we went back home, so I was extremely happy about the amazing experiences, but also sad that it was coming to an end. That was such a mind-blowing feeling. Australia was the dream I imagined it to be, but my exchange there also made me realise that there’s still a lot of stuff that needs to change there. The Aboriginal people, for example, have gone through so much and are still not recognised as the first people there. Learning about that in my university courses and hearing about it from Aboriginal friends was very interesting, but also quite painful.” What he missed most while he was there? His friends and family, with whom he would have liked to share all his great experiences. That, and cheap vodka.
Busy, busy, busy
When he got back to Rotterdam, Ted dove straight back into his busy life after reuniting with his friends and family. “I enjoy the thrill of being busy, it keeps me going. Sometimes I wake up and freak out a little, but then I remember what it’s all for. For my future, but also for me. Doing nothing for a while can be nice, but I get an existential crisis after two days. And I can manage work and social life very well. I always know how to combine the little pieces; when I have to do work in Amsterdam I can meet a friend there after, for example. I love my friends and family, so I don’t have a problem making time for them.” One of the things he is currently busy with, of course, is his thesis. “My research is about the LGBTQI+ community – the abbreviation keeps getting longer – and how to include them in advertising and campaigning. This is a target group that needs to be reached, but including them can also scare straight audiences away. I’m diving into the view of straight audiences, how they respond to gay inclusion in campaigns and how to improve it, ultimately. In times like these, where we have gay marriage and the freedom of social media, it should be normal that this community is represented in advertising and campaigns. I hope that one day, it will be possible to remove the labels altogether, to get full acceptance of everyone. That may not be realistic right now, but I’m hopeful.”
Approaching the finish line
“After three years of IBCoM, I am ready to graduate and challenge myself more. I know how to get good grades here in IBCoM; I cracked the code here, so to speak. I’m ready for something new, to go out into the big world and get more responsibility. I’m taking a gap year to get some more experience in the field of PR and figure out what I really want to do. After that, I would love to go abroad again. My dream destinations are San Fransisco, Seattle, Berlin, and Copenhagen, there are so many options. I’m ready to take on new challenges and see where life takes me, but at the same time, I already feel nostalgic. My time in IBCoM has been amazing and I’m going to miss it a lot. I really found my place here, and made friends that I know I’ll take with me for the rest of my life. No matter what mood we are in, we always make each other laugh. The happiest moments of my life happened here. So graduating has two sides, really.”
To everyone else who is just starting this journey, he has one bit of advice: “Enjoy your student life while it lasts. Work hard, definitely, but enjoy every moment of it to the fullest. It’s gonna be a hell of a ride, but it’s gonna be a quick one, too.”