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  • Taisiia Garkava 3rd Year SSMS Student

Discovery and First Year in SSMS

Once upon a time

My first encounter with SSMS happened long before I officially became a student there. A Computer Science undergrad at Delft University of Technologies, back then, I was sitting in my apartment with the laptop in front of me showing another unsuccessful attempt to fix a computer code. "Well, perhaps it's time for a small break" - I thought, and don't remember how, but I decided to research different study programs in the universities located close to the place of my residence. There were two – THUAS (HBO) and Leiden University (WO). Despite different educational systems, they both shared a study program that immediately triggered my attention - Safety and Security Management Study (Security Study at Leiden University).

Why it caught my attention? Well, I always was interested in security and cyber-related topics, as a hobby, but haven’t thought about studying anything like this at all. I was reading the description and curriculum overview, thinking, that it is what I like and passionate about, and it might’ve been great to become a student of SSMS one day. But, already half-way with my CS degree, I convinced myself that I should stick to what I am doing now and went to sleep.


As time went by, I couldn’t stop thinking and feeling that I’ve made a wrong education choice. Despite my inner pride of being a TU Delft student and ultimate love for technologies and innovations, I didn't feel happy and passionate about my study-choice. To end this inner debate once and forever, the decision to become a “student for a day” (Link: https://www.thehagueuniversity.com/programmes/bachelors/safety-security-management-studies/before-the-programme ) was made. The same day, I have registered for an offer to become a guest-student at both THUAS and Leiden University, with a mission to obtain hands-on student experience and get to know more about the program. First, I contacted Mr. Rick Arons, an English teacher and study advisor in SSMS, who you will meet or already met. With great optimist and passion, he invited me to spend one day with freshman year students. As a research university student, I was surprised by the differences in teaching styles; there were no large auditoriums of 300 students, but small interactive classes where students are encouraged to discussions; everything, from books to materials used during the lectures was exciting and interesting for me. The last thing I wanted there is to fall asleep, honestly.


Next week, I had second “student for a day” experience at Leiden University, that was exciting too but felt strangely similar to what I was experiencing at my WO study back then (If you meant to be an HBO student, you know it). Without hesitation, after a few weeks of thinking and rethinking, the life-changing decision was made – I’ll become a THUAS – SSMS student of the year 2018 – 2019.




Guidance for a freshman

As a freshman, your first study year starts with an event known as an Introduction Camp. My bad I haven’t been able to take part in it, but it is a must opportunity to get to know your classmates, professors and kick start your study year by taking part in fun events organized by senior student. I remember entering the class full of new people, who were so different but united by common career interest.


My first acquaintanceship with a program started with The Introduction to Law course, that ultimately met my expectations, it was interesting and collaborative. In total, we had, on average, six courses per study module. Truth be told – I loved them all, there is something about high-tempo, interaction and choice of topics, that interest and inspired me to be creative and curious, explore beyond the study curriculum. Frankly, you don’t have many assignments in between (except for the English class) and only 2-3 days of lectures a week, that create a sense of independence and allows you to become a master of your time. But, as we all know, success comes with consistency and great discipline, especially in our career choice. Do not underestimate the self-study workload of the readings and lectures, as postponing the reading of pre-scribed articles and chapter can turn into a timebomb, and I am pretty sure you don’t want this ‘bomb to explode’.

Additionally, I cannot be grateful enough for the amount of support you get from the teaching staff. They are there to answer all your question, give advice and even stay after the working hours if you want to meet and discuss something with them. That's something I find absolutely unique in this program and something I have never experienced in my other studies before.


Next to a standard curriculum, SSMS program, as well as THUAS allows students to get unique student experience with its truly fantastic guest lectures and wide range of student organizations, that everyone can become a part of. Make sure to become a member of our study organization, Centuria (Link: https://www.centuria-sa.org). Not to mention our fun networking and debating events in “Mixer”, where SSMS staff and students can engage in 100 and 1 discussion about everything, from innovations to casual talks with a glass of beer or water/juice – if you are like me cannot call yourself a fan of alcoholic drinks.


Another worth to mention advantage is that The Safety and Security Management Study is located on the main campus of THUAS, that has a lot to offer to its students. I, personally, really like to grab the coffee in “Lighthouse café” or have a bowl of sate ajam from a student canteen (Mmmm…).

To conclude, my freshman year as a student of SSMS was truly amazing. I got to know many different people and follow my passion. It was fascinating, engaging, active and fulfilling study experience! My opinion didn’t change, I am grateful for the risk taken 2 years ago and looking forward to 2 more years as a student in THUAS.


I hope that you liked the first article in our Centuria blog and maybe if you are reading and doubting on whether you should choose SSMS, this article convinced you to give it a try, and I promise, you will not regret of this decision. If you have any question, feel free to contact me or anyone from Centuria, and we will be glad to answer any of your questions.


Johanna Westerdijkplein 75, The Hague, Netherlands

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