Updated: Sep 27
by Janka Reke
I woke up, 9am, my head was still fuzzy and a weird fake mustache was stuck to my face. My phone didn’t stop buzzing, but I ignored the notifications and just stared at the ceiling for a couple of minutes. 23… One year older again… One year closer to the big adult life: the 9-5 job, the boring weekends and the conversations about tax, a year closer to expectations about having a family or a big house and a nicely polished car….
Oh gosh, this is overwhelming - I thought - Where is the time going?
I started CEMS at RSM by embarking on an exchange semester at NHH, in Bergen, Norway. Having travelled and lived abroad for quite a few years already, I was not too stressed about the move, but quite honestly, I had no idea how it will be to be part of the program. A couple of months in, I can tell it was an amazing learning curve! I truly believe in the saying “What doesn’t challenge you, doesn’t change you!” and I was surprised to find that I there is still some room for personal development, even after having visited 43 countries on 5 continents and having lived in 5.
CEMs life is intense, in the best sense of the word. We are always on the go, managing friendships, relationships, studies and jobs across borders, but at the same time, trying to make the most out of the current place and opportunities. Next to the school assignments, we are working on projects with the CEMS Club, we are involved in Student Consulting, conference organizing or even charity work. We do extra Skill Seminars, learn extra languages and prepare large scale projects (eg. selling Health Insurance for the extremely poor in South Africa?!). Obviously, we all try to keep fit by going on 10k runs in the beautiful Bergen hills, eat healthy on a low-budget and not be too hungover at our 8am classes. You would think all this is tiring, but honestly it is not at all! Every single day I feel a 110% alive and every night I go to bed with a new lesson learnt.
I guess this is where time went… it went into living every single moment with passion, drive and inspiration, hand-in-hand with some amazing like minded people...
With these thoughts in my head, I decided it is time to face reality and I picked up the phone to scroll through my notifications. One message struck me immediately: “Hi guys, here are the pictures from last night” - As you can imagine, I bursted out laughing when I saw the whole Committee on a group picture, wearing fake moustaches.
After, I recovered from this early-morning shock :D I suddenly felt so so grateful for this amazing Birthday night, which we pulled together with these crazy mustache people (the board members of CEMS Club Bergen, acting like T-Rex dinosaurs on the picture :D) to collect food and monetary donations to charity! The event was part of the CEMS Global Sustainability week and we all tried really hard to get people involved. Not only did we have a crazy Sangria soaked night, but we might have managed to influence some people to act for a more sustainable, more inclusive world! The beauty of CEMS is that fun and hard work goes together, which also means that there is definitely no time to get bored!
Time is only flying so quickly, when you make every minute count, and I can tell you, time is going really fast when you are a CEMSie. Everyday is a new adventure full of new projects, new cultures, interesting conversations about life as we know it, and life as we don’t. CEMSies are the travellers, the thrill-seekers, the problem-solvers and the ones who always walk the extra mile. Being a CEMSie means filling every single minute of your life with meaning by planning your next trip, working on a world-changing project or making a new friend from the other side of the world. In any CEMS discussion the question: Where are you coming from? Is strictly followed by the question: And where are you going next? It is amazing how CEMS friendships are forming around the globe just by attending the annual events, going on exchanges or taking up a job somewhere abroad.
CEMS is a huge international family and wherever life takes you, surely you will find one of us to help you with job applications, house hunting or just finding the best wine bar in the city. The alumni community is spreading across the globe, sitting in the offices of the biggest tech giants, consultancies, charities or in the CEO chairs of the most innovative start-ups.
Once a CEMSie, forever a CEMSie. Even after graduating, CEMSies are active members of this global community and live by the values they committed to upon graduation: Pursuing excellence, Appreciating diversity, Leading responsibly and Being global-minded in their professional life and beyond.
As I was slowly answering all the Birthday greetings and I was discussing the funny stories from last night, I smiled. Bring on the next year, because who cares about the 9-5 job, the big house, the polished car and all the other expectations placed on us by society?
The point is to have a life worth living, and CEMs is exactly that.