Universiteit Leiden

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Give your best and make the world a little better

More than 200 students completed their Bachelor’s degrees in combination with a three-year Honours programme last year. On 15 November, this resulted in a record number of certificates since the start of the Honours College 9 years ago. While listening to personal speeches, the students received their well-deserved certificates.

Ton Raap, the chair of the exam commission, was particularly looking forward to the certificate ceremony. ‘My job is to assess whether your son, daughter, or friend meets the requirements of the Honours College. I do this with great pleasure, although it can be a little dry. Therefore, I am looking forward to seeing all the faces that belong to the digital files today. Know that I feel almost as proud as you are.’

Give your best

During the speech given by public administration and law student Martijn Gijsen, the Hooglandse Kerk becomes quiet. He tells about his Honours College experiences with a very personal story. ‘Three years ago, time stood still for me. My dad died. I’d like to share some of his lessons, which were very important to me.’

Honours student Zeynep Egeli

‘You cannot give more than your best’, is one of these lessons. ‘It’s not about the result, but about the effort’, says Martijn. ‘When you are brushing your teeth in the evening and figure that you have done your best to achieve your goals today, then you can already be proud of yourself regardless of whether you achieved it or not.’ This is how Martijn completed the Honours College – by giving his best every day, and finally achieving his goal.


The Turkish Honours student Zeynep Egeli chose for the Honours College to find her Ikigai. ‘I wanted to explore what I like and what I do best’, says the student of International Studies. She most certainly found her Ikigai during the past three years. ‘I want to protect what is important to me and make the world a little better.’ This is already working out a bit: The project on the conservation of cultural heritage, which she worked on during a Bachelor’s Honours Class, is now actually being executed in Turkey!

Concerned citizens

Vice Rector Magnificus Hester Bijl closes the ceremony. ‘This is the biggest group of students ever to receive Honours certificates. That is a great result of which the university can be very proud.’ Bijl highlights the importance of the Honours College: ‘The knowledge, skills, and insights that you have developed can be used to address the challenges facing our society. This society needs you very much, both as academic professionals and as concerned citizens.’

(Dutch text: Lotte Middendorp / Photography: André van Haasteren)

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