Technostress Researcher, Asst. Professor


To teachers

The other day I got to go back to IT-Universitetet i København as an Alumni #speaker at the graduation ceremony and share the stage with Jens Christian Godskesen, Pernille Rydén and Helle Friis.

What an honor to share the day with so many ending an important chapter in their lives, while I got to reflect back on my own journey and learnings, some of which I would like to share with you.

More than a decade ago, I saw a picture of this amazing futuristic looking building, and I immediately felt a pull towards the place.

At the time, I lived in a small village in Romania, growing up in a modest family. My grandfather only got to go to primary school for four years. My parents finished a professional high-school. There was no awareness in my world of the existence of scientists or university teachers, so how could I even wish to become one? When I read my first scientific article in English, I felt like the dumbest person on Earth. I needed a dictionary to understand it, and always had one with me to be able to understand my lectures at ITU.

What I learned early on was that there is a limit to how much I can dream of, and for that reason I always sought out #mentors and #teachers that can broaden my horizon. There are so many people that have generously offered me their time and wisdom, sometimes even if I didn’t know what to ask them about. How could I know what to ask, when I had no awareness of what more there is to learn?

From that day I first saw a picture of ITU and felt that pull, to today, when I am an Assistant Professor at Roskilde University in an institute that is even called #People and #Technology – the two topics that I love most – it feels like a serendipitous journey.

Perhaps this is what I can give further to the new #graduates:

It is ok if you don’t have it all figured out. To be honest, it is better you don’t – because you might not know enough about yourself and the world around you to be able to have a clear roadmap. But as long as you follow your intuition, pursue what feels right to you, and find not only “what”, but also “who” can show you what more is possible, you will be good.

To teachers: don't judge a fish by its ability to climb

And to teachers: don’t judge a fish by its ability to climb. If you should’ve judged me in my first semester, you’d never thought I would become an academic one day. My starting point was different, and my learning curve was steep.

My modest background taught me other valuable lessons: as a child, I saw my grandfather always helping others and treat everyone equally. He worked hard, but took breaks to appreciate the sky and the birds, and always rested on Sundays. He always knew whom in his community needed help: he helped building wells to provide water for the people in our village, and helped many build their houses. His big grin lit up my day, and still does. There was never a day I didn’t see him smile and being kind. His life gave me a desire to #contribute to my community, the #people in it, and think beyond a #careerpath.

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