Article written by Andrej Filipic with the contribution of Viktoria Paschalidou.
The EESTEC community has lately been buzzing intensely around a simple question.
The whole avalanche of discussions started with a short text about an impactful personal experience, that resonated with many of us. The author of this text, Viktoria Paschalidou, an internationally and locally (hyper)active member of LC Xanthi was helping with recruitment in a recently formed Observer in her hometown of Thessaloniki, as she was faced with a challenge.
Whenever recruiting members or forming a partnership with a company, we, EESTECers, are always asked the same question, “What is EESTEC?”, to which we almost automatically reply “EESTEC is the European associations for electrical engineering and computer sciences students that aim to connect and develop them… EESTEC brings together students, universities, and companies… “ until we are interrupted “Ok, ok, ok, but… tell me what it is actually about!”
And we suddenly become a bit embarrassed. As Viktoria nicely puts it, it’s not because we wouldn’t know what to say, it’s because we don’t know where to start.
So we usually just start listing things we feel describe EESTEC best, usually starting with the more general ones…
“We work on projects, organize events, travel all over Europe to learn new things on workshops,
set the first steps into professional life, create a network of fellow engineers,
gain experiences and develop skills, explore new cultures, broaden our horizons, open our minds up.”
And then slowly approaching the most personal ones…
“It’s about crossing things off your bucket list. It’s about the friendships you form,
always having a couch to crash on in every city in Europe. It’s like a family sharing the same dream.”
And it ends up further in the most abstract ones...
“It’s empowering, inspirational and energizing.
Space, physical and metaphorical, where to challenge yourself, fail, learn and grow, change and unleash your potentials... it’s a leap out of the comfort zone… it’s life-changing, it’s bigger than the sum of its parts.”
At this point you realize you have been vividly discussing for quite a while now and yet you haven’t managed to paint the whole picture.
EESTEC can be a lot of things. Even to those, who aren’t, it’s members.
If you are a professor, it can be a way for your students to learn more than you ever have. And offering more than just engineering to future engineers can be one of the factors that have been attracting increasingly more students to these studies.
If you are a company, it can be the bridge to all students in these fields, a selection of potential employees or the guarantee of their experience in teamwork and projects.
Of course, one could also view EESTEC as something negative, but there are always two sides to a coin. We’ve all seen professors shaking their heads when they see us with a(nother) pint in our hands - but perhaps we were toasting to a(nother) successfully finished a project. We’ve all met the skeptical HR responsibles at the job interviews - but perhaps the experience, skills and broadness we gained are more important than just our grades. We all have parents around Europe, worrying about their offspring not graduating yet and being lost… Worry not, dear parents, they are not lost, they have found themselves in something bigger than just them. Perhaps, after reading this, you understand.
There is no universal version of EESTEC. It depends on each EESTECer. To some of us, it’s about learning or friendships. To some, it’s all about traveling. To others, it might be just about the parties. The point is,
“EESTEC is what you want it to be”
as Viktoria perfectly sums it up.
Or I’d dare even say it’s what you need it to be.
To all of us, EESTEC is a state of mind and a way of life, dimensions of the students’ world others might never discover. That’s the very reason why we try to share it with others, never stopping to spread, what we call, the EESTEC Spirit.