Wow, you clicked on the ‘bio’ link in the about page! Apparently, I’m supposed to give a brief overview of who I am now.
Okay, here it goes.
I am part of Generation X’s tail end. I was born in the seventies of the last century in my country’s periphery. I officially feel old now. This part of the country is very rural, very conservative and as a consequence of being culturally isolated, also very narrow-minded. I never fit in and didn’t have any friends. Considering the circumstances, I thought that was a good thing.
Welcome to the internet age
When I went to secondary school at age 13, life got a little bit better because school was in a bigger town and at age 16 I discovered this thing called ‘the Internet’ in the public library. It was full of like-minded geeks.
When I chose a STEM-oriented graduation course for secondary school, I was under pressure from both the school and my parents to choose something more appropriate for girls. Under pressure, I caved and opted for the ‘lazy’ option with four languages, arts, but insisted on keeping geography and biology, my favourite subjects.
After graduating from secondary school, life got even better because I moved to the regional capital city to study German Language and Culture at the local university. I thought that would be easy since I was raised bilingually, sort of. At any rate, I had won the golden ticket to leave the area.
At university I took classes in Medieval Studies and Cultural History. During the nights I spent hours on the W3C Schools website teaching myself html and CSS. I made my first hand-coded website hosted on a home server run by a nerdy friend using Notepad and Netscape Navigator.
Change of plans
At the end of my freshman year I discovered that I wouldn’t pass any grammar exams in any language after trying English and German. I’m good at learning languages provided I can do it the ‘natural’ way, by immersion.
I found out that there was an option to get a science oriented education despite being handicapped with my languages and arts trajectory: experimental psychology. I only needed to work on mathematics during the summer and pass the introductory exam and could study to become a scientific researcher! I was elated!
I had to work part-time as a cleaning aide to the elderly as a way to fund my educational aspirations. This meant that I couldn’t study full-time either. There also were a lot of things going on at the home-front, so I knew this would be tough. But hey, scientific researcher! I just kept that carrot dangling in front of me to keep going. It was indeed tough, but it taught me to be self-sufficient.
When I found out I would be switched to the ‘new’ Bachelor/Master system in my second year, I was mortified. Experimental psychology would no longer be offered. I picked up the shards and worked on getting a BSc in Psychology studying ‘Brain and Behaviour’ instead. All my credits for experimental psychology were transferred to the minor so I would be on a fast track.
Since I had no desire to become a counsellor specialised in patients with brain damage, I didn’t follow up with the MSc programme and tried to find a job instead. I hoped to do a master in science as soon as it would be offered. In The Netherlands, scientific and research masters are 120 ECTS or two years of studying full-time. I planned on growing my savings so I could finish in two years.
I worked in several jobs before I changed my career as a self-employed WordPress and multimedia consultant. It was an interesting experience that taught me that I’m not an entrepreneur.
I liked helping people (mostly small companies and non-profits) to join the 29% of the web with a good content management system, upgrading them from decade old hand-coded static sites. But it came with a lot of administrative responsibilities, miles of red tape with the ever-changing legal requirements from the government which was super stressful.
Social Media and Community Manager
I am currently working for a small non-profit that specialises in media. We make documentaries and reports with television quality. I still do some IT work, both on-site support and website/web-server maintenance, but as a Community Manager, my focus now lies on Social Media, Newsletter Marketing and multimedia editing.
I am content with the life I’m living now and grateful to have learned to be flexible. The past has gone away and the future hasn’t happened yet. The only thing that matters is the present.