Is the grass greener on the other side?

| Lisa Waldera

Lisa Waldera (25) is a master’s student Communication Studies from Bremen, Germany. For three years now, she’s been living on campus. Next to her study, she regularly visits the cinema and enjoys concerts of all music genres. Every other week she writes about her life at the University of Twente.

Photo by: Annabel Jeuring

I am sitting in front of my window with the leaves on the trees turning orange. Slowly falling on the ground. And while it is finally the time of the year for tea and warm blankets, I am filling in a whole lot of surveys. My search for participants for my own thesis led me to a website called A website where students, researchers and companies can upload their academic surveys to have them filled in by other users of the website. And all that for free!

So, I did not hesitate long to upload my own material. But in order to be found easily by other users, you want your survey to be one of the highest in the ranking. And how to you get into the high ranks? By filling in surveys of other people and collecting points. And that is why I am sitting here reading a multitude of research surveys. Naturally, I start to compare my own research set up and topic to the one’s I am reading about.

The topics range from ‘global warming’ to ‘home office experience’ to ‘anonymous application procedures’. Some are more interesting than others but all of them make me rethink the choice I made for my thesis. Do not get me wrong, I am happy with my topic. But I also realize that I am missing out on so many other interesting subjects. Missing out on all the choices I have not chosen.

On the other hand, the grass is always greener on the other side. People keep complaining about the lax corona measurements taken by the Dutch government. They should be stricter to get us through everything faster. But at the same time, no one here is locked up in their house with only an hour of fresh air a day. The full lockdown will not even be necessary here if everyone sticks to the rules now. And I can totally miss out on that choice of a strict lockdown.

Besides, I am going to fill in even more surveys on my kitchen table for the next two weeks. Except for today. Today, I am glued to my phone screen, following the counting of the American presidential votes. It is a week of big choices. Trump vs. Biden. The grass is always greener on the other side (of the ocean). Unless your president stays Donald Trump after this week.

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