Published on: 25 January 2020
Written by: Jamie Aartsen

Introduce yourself!
I’m Arne, I am a first-year student from Hamburg in Germany, I’m 19 years old and I was surprisingly chosen as the AI* of January.

So, you come from Hamburg, how did you end up in Nijmegen from there?

Well actually, I found out about Radboud by accident, there was an information event in Hamburg where different universities came to present themselves and one of them was Radboud. So, I got this brochure where all different universities and all their bachelors were listed and obviously, because I knew I wanted to do something in the direction of computing science, I looked through all the technical and computing science bachelors, but also just randomly went through the brochure and found social sciences and more specifically AI and I was like, “huh what is that?” So, then I did some research, bombarded the people at the event with questions about the bachelor and went to the open day later and then decided that this is what I wanted to do.

So, what is it that you specifically like about AI?

The thing I like the most is that it is very interdisciplinary, I don’t know how to pronounce that correctly (That’s okay I totally had to google how to write it too, haha). One of the reasons why I wasn’t too interested in a classic computing science bachelor was that it is a bit too dry for me because it is essentially just math and programming and other stuff that has to do with computers - and AI just brings in this whole other side of psychology, neurobiology also a bit of philosophy, which also is really interesting, and I especially like how this study brings this all together in like the newest of the new technologies.

Same! Now that we know all about your study choice it is time to know more about you as a person, so what do you like to do in your free time?

Obviously, I am very active within CognAC in three different committees: the FC which I am also chair of, the LoLCo and the PaparaC. Besides I am also fencing at the sports centre.

Wow that’s really cool.

Yes, I used to fence for four years already in Hamburg, so I was very happy to see that it was also a possibility here and the people in the club are great so far! I also like to do a lot of photography, which might have already been clear since I am in the PaparaC and took the RAGweek calendar picture and stuff like that, but I’ve also got a really big passion for analog photography, which is why I am partially a member of photography association de Cycloop, because they got their own dark room which is great, so I don’t have to pay insane amounts to get my photos developed every time and get broke over it. Obviously, I am also really into computers, so I watch a lot of tech stuff on YouTube, play computer games, etc. Furthermore, I play the piano and the harp, both for several years now, piano the longest. Finally, I also really enjoy reading, I think that kinda sums everything up.

And I suppose you also like cooking since you are in the FC, that brings me to my next question: what is your favourite dish?

I think my favourite dish is pancakes with Nutella, because it just brings back such a lot of childhood memories! When I was in primary and high school we always had a pancake day, on Friday mostly, where my mom used to make pancakes for lunch and since pancakes are not that healthy, there was always the rule that two had to be savoury and then for the third one I was allowed to choose something sweet, mostly Nutella obviously. Nowadays my favourite dish is lasagna, because it is a very good tasting dish, but on the other hand it is also not too complicated to make. You only have to spend around half an hour on it and then it just has to bake in the oven, which gives it a really good balance between difficulty and taste.

You have one big list of hobbies, how do you manage them timewise, together with studying and your committee work?

Good question, obviously I got this time rewinding device from Harry Potter that Hermione always uses. In all seriousness, fencing training is always very late in the evening, because we are all university students, so it is from 9 to 11, which means it is not technically in the day itself, but it just means that I don’t get any sleep, so if I have early lectures on Tuesday or Thursday I’m fucked. And committee wise, PaparaC is a bit cheating because I am doing the committee work at CognAC activities I was going to attend anyways. Furthermore, I just try to make time for all the things I want to do, but it definitely does take up all of my free time. I just think it is a lot of fun to have so much to do. There are other people who like to relax more, but for me my lifestyle in a sense to be very busy.

Why did you immediately deciding to become this active in CognAC by joining three committees and chairing one of them?

During the orientation week, CognAC was strongly promoted and it was made sure that we were able to sign up for CognAC and to enjoy everything CognAC brings from the beginning on! I just really liked the atmosphere around that the CognAC people conveyed and at the committee market, I just immediately became interested in the PaparaC because I’m into photography, and the LoLCo also was out of interest, but becoming chair of the FC kinda happened by accident. During the orientation week, I talked to some first years and quite a few of them didn’t know how to cook, their cooking skills kinda range between being able to cook noodles at max and somehow managing to burn soup at its worst, but that’s a whole other story! So, I thought why not organize a workshop at my home where I teach students some basic cooking skills, but then more and more people got interested and I was like, ha that doesn’t fit in my kitchen. Luckily, CognAC came around which has the FC and well it turns out that in this committee you can actually organize cooking workshops and other cool dining activities, so I was very motivated to do that and my fellow committee members really liked my visions for the committee and so I got voted in as chair.

And we are really happy with you as active member and with what the FC is doing so far 😊. Besides the committees you are doing now, are there still any on your to-do list?

Oh, yes, I was already kinda recruited for the WkC, but I will definitely not do that this year, most likely next year. That’s mostly what I want to do for now, because I also definitely want to stay active in the PaparaC and FC in the future. But I’m also thinking about doing a board year at some point!

I can definitely recommend it😉 Back to your current committees, what are they up to?

Let’s start off with the most straight forward one, the PaparaC, there we are just continuing to make pictures at activities, I will definitely also try to continue with my memes. For the people who don’t know, whenever I take photos at an activity, I choose one of the pictures to become the meme of the activity and I just give it a slight retouch by making a high-quality meme out of it and then I upload it!

They are legendary, y’all should definitely check them out on the PaparaC cloud if you didn’t already.

The LoLCo is obviously planning a tournament at the moment I think it is going to be in April, not sure actually, but it will be there somewhere this year (No worries Arne, I did the research and it’s on the 19th of March!). Lastly the FC is currently busy with organizing the Fine Dining activity, which will probably already be filled up once this interview is online (It is full indeed😊). Furthermore, we are planning some workshops for cooking, both basic and a bit more advanced ones that dive deeper into different cooking cultures and hopefully we can give people new inspiration with them.

I’m hyped. We kinda have had all committee related questions, so let’s move on to some more personal stuff, what is an achievement, which can be anything in your life, that you are really proud of?

One thing I am really proud of was that I scored a semi-official photography gig this summer, because I had contact with the volunteer organizer of Iron Man in Hamburg, which is like the world’s toughest triathlon, where the running alone is already a whole marathon. I got an official photography pass and it was incredible being only 1 meter away from all the athletes and being able to have access to all areas and to take all those pictures, it was crazy.

Wow, I can definitely imagine that being a bucket list item, that you can now check off, talking about bucket lists, what is at the top of yours?

I have tons of things I still want to do in the future, I think the one that is the most realistic would be doing my master’s degree in Canada, because I really want to live there for some part of my life! I could imagine doing my masters somewhere else, but if I do it in Canada, it would be way easier for me to find a job there and stay there for a while.

Sounds like a pretty cool future plan, so do you like travelling then since you first came here from Germany and also want to move on to Canada?

Well, I’ve lived my whole live in Hamburg, and after 19 years I just got a bit fed up with the city, so I really wanted to go abroad. Also, since the German university system is in my opinion not the best one, to put it mildly, I definitely did not want to stay in Germany. Having said that, the answer to whether I like travelling is yes. One of my goals for the near future is doing a trip to Malaysia, because I got family friends living there, and currently the country is undergoing a lot of changes, because it is becoming more touristic, but the culture there is very special as a lot of different histories and cultures come together and coexist there. Unfortunately, a lot of it is getting lost in the modernisation, so my goal is to go there for at least two weeks, maybe more, and take all of my cameras with me, digital as well as analog, and make a documentary trip where I interview people and obviously take tons of photos, just to preserve the special cultural atmosphere of the country.

I love how passionate you are about this! For now, let’s move back to CognAC related questions. If you could spend our entire budget on something for our association what would it be?

I would get a 3D printer and all the accessories for it and let people use it without any restrictions, so as long as you are CognAC member you can print whatever bullshit you want with it. Besides, I would get higher tier Merch for CognAC, like personally inscribed laptops, just totally go over the top.

So basically, showing off to all other associations about how rich we are?

Yes, essentially! Oh, I would also get every member a free shirt with the design I made for the sweater contest that sadly did not make it, for the people who don’t know: I took the Drake meme and on the top I put all other associations and at the bottom I put CognAC.

At this point Kim who also happens to be in the board room, looks confused, so we look up the design and enjoy this masterpiece for a second.

I would get everyone such a shirt just to beef with the other associations. Just for the record, I don’t have anything against the other associations though, it will be a friendly beef.

Haha, sure sounds like it. The all-time classic: if CognAC where to have a pet, what should it be?

I got two options, the first one is a cactus, because it is the easiest living thing to take care off.

Here I point out that we actually do have a cactus in the board room, our very beloved mascot CognACtus <3 It even has its own Facebook page!

Oh nice! well then, the second option would be a husky, which I would love because they are such great dogs and it could walk around the board room and tk and be an emotional support animal for the students working there!

Love it! To wrap up this interview, do you have any shoutouts?

Obviously, shoutout to the FC, best committee in CognAC! Also, to the PaparaC and LoLCo which are of course also great committees. Shoutout to my intro moms and dad: Emma, Laura and Jelle and to the rest of my introgroup and to my Nimma44 judges Sander and Jamie, for interpreting the rules really to my favours.

With this Arne means to say that he went for very creative solutions, working his way around all of the assignments, e.g. one of them was to eat a Big Mac in one bite, so Arne ordered one but deselected all the ingredients except from the lettuce, but as it said so on the recipe it technically still was a Big Mac, so he proceeded to eat his version of the Big Mac in one bite and got the points. Needless to say, Sander and I really enjoyed judging those solutions