Looking back, again...

Hey hey, everybody,

Hope you’re doing well so far.

Well… I’m done. and not only mentally I just finished my last exams and hand-ins, and now it’s on my Master’s Thesis. That will probably be another topic for another time, but I wanted to take a bit of time to reflect now, using “funny” statistics and random anecdotes.

Anyway, let’s just get started. First, let’s look at some university-related statistics. Since I have just finished all the courses, I can provide the overall statistics regarding how long an MSc in Software Engineering takes. okaaaaay… I haven’t done my thesis yet, and I missed the first three weeks… but still

A graph showing the total time spent

The interesting thing about this is that it is surprisingly roughly within the university guidelines regarding the amount of time spent. Assuming I spent roughly 40-45 hours on average for the first three weeks (as a low estimate), this means I spent roughly 1100 hours on the whole ordeal, give or take a bit.

As of now, I have acquired 42 ECTS points within this program, for each of which you are supposed to spend 30 hours. That results in the 1260 hours you’re supposed to spend on it. That is even a bit lower than the supposed amount. It certainly doesn’t feel that way, though…

As of now, I’m yet to form an opinion on this fact, and I’m severely confused on so many levels while having “Vietnam flashbacks” of the days when I spent the whole day trying to get some project to work.

To be fair, this amount of time is just pure Netto time, even exploding smaller breaks, like toilet breaks, to the best of my abilities.

Cool. Now, let’s move on to maybe some more fun things in life. Here is the updated map of where I at least got off once, now including the various stations I had to change or get out in Germany to visit family/friends. thanks DB ❤️

A map with all of the public transit stops I visited during my time.

I had quite a bit of time in January and used it quite a bit to travel around and explore various places here in the Netherlands or even outside of that. 😊 Even outside that, I tried visiting more stuff, and I think I was quite successful. 😉

A map with all of the 'places' I visited during my time.

Link to the map.

Another cool thing that came to my mind is when and “how” I travelled all of those places with a sort of timeline. You see. Using an OV-Chipkaart really has the advantage of being able to export the check-in and check-out times at different stations, so with that data, I could put it into a map. Due to some inconsistencies in the data, creating such a funny-looking GIF with the stations and places popping up would be a bit “difficult” or tiresome.

I don’t know about you, but this would be kinda cool, but yeah… maybe also a list of cool places would be kinda cool in the future, but who knows… that is also something for another post.

About potentially spending way too much time on this… I created a funny little tool to visualize all of that time-tracking data in a fancier and more interactive way. I mainly made it to learn a bit of React, but this was a nice side-effect of that, I guess.

Here is the link to that tool.

Just select the corresponding preset and enjoy. ❤️ In general, this tool can also be used to visualize Clockify time tracking data, which I used, but in this case, I’m also kinda giving it a second purpose.

In there, you can also view the corresponding data for each lecture and even some subactivities.

A graph showing the time spent per lecture.

See? Cool, right?

Interestingly, when overlaying this time-tracking data with a daily emotional self-assessment, no major correlation between spending lots of time in uni and general happiness can be seen in my case. On some days, it does flow over, but the general trend doesn’t show such a correlation. Does that mean anything? I don’t know. I’m neither a psychologist nor a statistician. My best guess would be that for most of the time (besides that period around the beginning/mid-March), I found some enjoyment out of that ordeal and somehow could separate this and whatever was left of my own personal life. but I don’t really know, haha

A graph with the total amount of time spent on university activities overlaid with my self-accessed emotional status.

Onto travelling. I have often gone back and forth between Germany (around Karlsruhe) and the Netherlands (Amsterdam). Anyone who travelled with “Deutsche Bahn” knows that this can be a relatively interesting ordeal filled with technical difficulties, strikes, fuck-ups and whatever you are currently not imagining. It will happen. (my “favourites” were electrical issues at the border, “personal damages”, the inability to detach carriages and the unplanned stop in a tiny town with an ICE train) Therefore, you can imagine travel times varied quite a bit. 😄

  • Shortest ride: 4 hours 52 minutes (0 stops)
  • Longest ride: 8 hours 46 minutes (4 stops)

(my longest delay in the Netherlands was 14 minutes, while in Germany, it was 132 minutes btw…)

My personal best travel “life-hacks” are:

  • Surprisingly, few tourists know this. You can just pay with your bank card for a public transit ticket. Stop buying physical tickets. They are waaaay more expensive.
  • When getting an ICE train from Amsterdam, a seat reservation is basically never needed. Most people will get in around the Cologne area.
  • Every train station in Amsterdam and many in the Netherlands are equipped with ticket gates. Say you don’t want to use a specific ticket for, whatever reason, you can enter from another station with an OV-Chipkaart and check out inside the train departure area with specific check-out points at the platforms. Or look like a confused tourist at Amsterdam Centraal.
  • DB is very tolerant in giving you money back. Use it.
  • A Museumkaart also acts as the best toilet pass you can have. And those toilets are clean, as well, unlike those public urinals…
  • The ferries are for free in Amsterdam. (For walking and biking people)
  • The window to change over public transit options is very generous. (35 minutes) For me, that’s enough to go grocery shopping and still easily catch the next option, all being on “one trip”. This makes the changeover trip super cheap.
  • Try to avoid the 2/12 tram during peak hours between Centraal Station and Museumplein. Don’t do this to yourself. Way too many tourists…
  • When booking a train ticket from the Netherlands to Germany. Book over DB and not NS. It’s cheaper. There are some quirks, though: Book early (it uses flexible pricing), don’t look at a trip too often (it uses dynamic pricing), and after a few searches, prices can increase. To circumvent this, use incognito mode or pick the next or previous day and scroll back/forth (by pressing either the “earlier” or “later” buttons); especially if you’re under 25, consider getting a Bahncard 25, it can be worth it in a very little amount of trips, even just the one. 😄
  • Based on my experience, the ICE train to/from Basel - Amsterdam has been the most reliable one. (but that is also the most expensive one without careful planning)

Finally, here are just some random tidbits which just came into my head that you might find “funny”:

  • Amount of times striving a bike/car: 7
  • Amount of cheese consumed: Enough to kill any lactose-intolerant person
  • Amount of photobombed tourist pictures: Way too many, should be over 30, including 4 TikTok dance videos.
  • Best Dutch snack creation: Bittergarnituur (you literally get an heartattack when looking at that…)
  • Most coffee consumed in a day: ~10 shots of espresso.
  • Best sharing snack with other partners in pain, especially during stressful periods: The 1,19€ chocolate cookies from Albert Heijn. #noad
  • Weather forecast accuracy: If it’s not totally obvious by looking outside: Literally 0%. If it rains, it will always have extra headwind and rain in your eyes.

Okay. There’s probably way more that I could think of that could be funny or interesting in one way or another. I feel like, though, that this is already long enough, so let’s just leave that for another day. 😉

So yeah. Hope you enjoyed whatever that was.

Have a nice day, and Happy Easter. 🐰

See ya.