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Precious Held

Precious Held
Photo by Robin de Puy

Who: Precious Held (1999)
Studies: Future Planet Studies
First job: Paper route
Favourite place at the UvA: the rooftop terrace above the library at Science Park
Essential: sustainability

Precious Held (1999) is a Bachelor's student in the Future Planet Studies programme. From a very early age, she was certain she would be going to university. Future Planet Studies caught her eye, but Precious wanted to be sure the programme was right for her. And so she attended the UvA Bachelor's Day, did a shadowing day and took part in UvA Matching – also known as the study choice check – and received a positive recommendation. She then became so fascinated with the three major sustainability issues that she began to adopt more sustainable habits herself. Ideally, she plans to study Marine Biology in New Zealand during her half year of free-choice electives.

Future Planet Studies: that sounds inspiring.

‘Yes, and it is. It's a very special degree programme. Future Planet Studies focuses primarily on sustainability. We address three vital issues: the food problem, the water problem and the energy problem. How do you manage food, water and energy more effectively, so that more people have access to it and so that it is not at the expense of the planet? My fellow students and I have adopted more sustainable habits, too. Some people bring their own mugs to university to eliminate the need for paper cups. One of my classmates started a metal straw business to replace disposable plastic straws. I try to live sustainably, too. At home, we rarely put the heating on, I always turn off all the lights, I try to conserve water and I recycle. I try to eat organic food as much as possible, too. The number of students who are vegetarians increases exponentially during the year. This is not because the lecturers tell you to be a vegetarian, but because, during your studies, you find out about the impact of the meat industry on the environment. I eat more mindfully now as well. When I eat meat, I cannot help but hear a little voice in my head repeating what I learned during the lecture.'

The world can still be saved, but a lot needs to change.

So you’re all going to go out and save the world?

I think studying abroad is an opportunity everyone should take.

Do you often take things outside the classroom?

The UvA really stood out to me from the other universities.

Are you glad you chose the UvA?

‘Oh, absolutely. I initially chose the UvA because of this degree programme. I visited other universities, too, but the UvA really stood out to me. I attended the UvA Bachelor's Day and then did a shadowing day, which involved following a current student to a lecture and a seminar. It was nice to see the different teaching methods in place at the university. The Science Park is a colourful and enjoyable campus; I feel at home there. The UvA has a reputation for being a more informal university. Obviously, I don't know what it's like at other universities, but my fellow students are fun and outgoing. I've noticed that they have not just idly picked a programme; everyone is really interested in what we're doing. We also have a lot of contact with senior students, which is nice, because it will give you a bit of an idea of what to expect. The lecturers here know who we are; we can have a beer with them during field trips and have a laugh together during lecturers. Future Planet Studies is not a very big programme, which means you can get to know a lot of people.’