“It is never too late for a change.” That is the motto of Lars, a second-year Academy student with a non-typical career path. Putting his working life on pause, Lars is not only changing his career but “doing his part” to change the world, as he puts it. And he’s glad to do so in such a unique environment.

Not much of a talker 

“I remember TV programs on stories of accidents and poisonings from polluting matter,” says Lars, “I was still very young, but it must have made an impact. Back then, they were talking about the same problems we face today.” But it did make an impact indeed, as Lars would develop a strong feeling of wanting to contribute for the better. “And since the world runs through politics, I figured I had to go there.” 

He did but studying political science would lead him down a different rabbit hole. “When doing such a study, you learn about all sorts of social systems, and there is often a bit of talk about technology. But very superficial.” And Lars being curious, it of course didn’t scratch his itch for knowledge. “So, I started looking what else I can do. Plus, I’m not much of a talker anyway, so a way out of politics was not a bad choice.” 

Clicking digital pipes 

Engineering – that was where he was heading to. “Environmental engineering had sparked my interest, so I pursued another bachelor’s degree. That eventually led me to work in a company that worked with HVAC – heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.”  

“I had a nice challenge for a while, but once I figured out how it worked there, my days became quite boring. I soon realized I was spending my days clicking on digital pipes, looking at a schematic for a hotel or skyscraper in design. It wasn’t what I had imagined, as I wanted to be closer to research. So, I decided to pause my established and comfortable life – to travel to Leeuwarden and be a student again.” Destination: the Wetsus Academy. 

Peruvian dessert 

“Water technology combines so many different fields – from chemistry to biology, physics, even the social sphere, it all comes together. That’s what struck me. Plus, I had already liked water technology during my study. And I must say, my expectations are met. I am glad we learned to work so autonomously on anything in the first year. The study is so practical. Although a bit overwhelmed initially, I am doing well with my thesis now, and I certainly enjoy it. Now we wait for a catastrophe to strike. At least, that’s what everyone says happens to you if you do research. 

And I am glad I did go for this study. The working environment is amazing. It is all so open here – you can walk into anyone’s office and start asking about what they’re doing. It’s great to learn this way about topics thatyou like. Nice to meet so many people from all over the world. I never imagined eating a Peruvian dessert here, for example. Overall, it’s just such a change from the endless corridors of closed doors. And I feel like I can contribute to a cleaner environment after this.” It only confirms – it is never too late for a change. 

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