"How to become a happy commercial engineer in management information
systems" - a fairy tale that spans 12 years...
When I was about 12 years old, my father wanted me to build some
character. That's why he sent me to a boarding school in Dendermonde, the
"Abdijschool". Jail basically, but indeed very good for character building! No
pubs, no computers, no jeans and... No girls. Just monks :-(
This is how a regular school day looked like: get up at 6:45 in
the morning (at least, thats when the bell rang, usually until everybody had opened the
curtains of his room). Make sure you are in the chapel by 7am, because the door that gives
out to school was closed at 7. Too late, no breakfast!
All right, your shoelaces are tied? Time to go to the dining room for breakfast. After the
opening prayer you could start fighting for your food. Pupils are seated on tables of 6 or
8 persons. At each table two students from 5th or 6th grade make sure that the meals can
be used in serenity; nice when you're in 5th or 6th grade... Breakfast consists of bread,
jam and occasionally (actually, exceptionally is more appropriate) of chocolate paste. You
could drink milk, coffee or extremely good tea (this is true!)
By 8am it was time (bell ringing loud) to go to yoor room, till 8:20 when -yes- the bell
rang for class. Be there by 8:30. Class till 10, bell, and then again from 10:15 (bell)
till about 12 (driiiiiiiiing). Now it's time for lunch. After that you could in general
have a nice battle with dessert in your grade's common room. Bell. Ten minutes to get your
stuff for the afternoon classes till about 16:15, ruthlessly interrupted by a bell-marked
15 minutes of 'playing time'. Eating time - lesson in modesty. But fine tea. Then about
ten minutes (depends on how 'fast' you eat :-) before the first study time commences, a
period indicated by Pavlov's device. One hour to do your homework (no homeworks are
accepted after this period!). Visiting somebody else's room during this period is asking
for trouble. A babyphone does the trick however :-). Until you can't hear the guy on the
other side due to the sound of the bell. Fifteen minutes playing time. For a change,
jingle bells announce another 45 minutes of intensive time-wasting behind your desk. Then,
after the bell sounds, it's dinner time. The cook's creativity baffles you and your
stomach. But then you can finally go and do some sports (football is very popular, but
volleybal and basketball as well) or watch some TV. This is usually not a good idea,
because you're certainly gonna miss the clue of the film... And in case you would have
forgotten, the bell will bring it to your attention: study time (again? - Again!) till
about 22:45... In fact, a great time to try and deceive the guard and his camera's... Or,
when you happen to be in 6th grade (but no sooner!!) you could also listen to your radio -
silently. Until you fall asleep and the bell announces a bright new day!
By the time you leave school you're 18 years old (well, most are)
and you don't know sh$t about any life apart from Jesus'. So you want to have all and you
want to have it all - that's why you go to Leuven! Big disappointment. Go to a book shop
and buy "Dating girls for Dummies". Furthermore, where is the excitement in
staying up late, watching TV and drinking beer when you can't get cought?
Or wouldn't it be that bad? ;-)
If you would like to have the next 6 years of my life summarised,
have a look at this page. It will tell you I started my university
studies with a preparatory year in mathematics. Together with a couple of friends I met
during that year, I then took up courses to become a commercial engineer. By that time I
knew I wanted to do something with computers. Three years later I selected the option to
study management information systems.
I graduated in 1997 but didn't feel like giving up student life
yet. A course in information security in Britain seemed a good intermediary step towards
professional life. So here I am, writing this page in my room in Old Windsor...
Here you can find a number of papers
I wrote and my thesis on WFMS's (if you don't know what the abbreviation stands for, don't
bother - this section can be skipped "without loss of continuity" in your life).