Interactive session with Maarten van Steen

Maarten van Steen :

Professor at the VU University Amsterdam

It was around 12:00pm when we were called for the interactive session with Prof.Maarten van Steen at the conference hall. He was already in the room when we reached.  Initially he spoke about the online course that he is offering to the students at Amrita here. After that he came to the general questions. Some of the questions were how does he develop passion towards his subject, how does he react when he has to face a difficulty or a failure, what were the thoughts and dreams  that he had while doing his BTech, how does he manage time out of all distractions, how to ask more questions etc…

He is a really great man who handles research, teaching and management easily. These are some of his principles that I liked the most..

“If you find something interesting, you must start with it. Never do things for money. Money is important if you are poor. But once you are ok with it, do what is fun for you. Enjoy doing your work.

Take decisions or make choices in such a way that there is space to make choices later too. I never chase your dreams, because life becomes a race. I work on intuitions of my mind. I wanted to become a professor and I did. I like managerial works too. So he does both.

Mistakes or rejections are the places to learn more. So life becomes easier and problem-less once you start seeing a failure as a stepping stone.

At this age, you will be always full of distractions. You must try your best to keep away with it. At present, there are a lot of works for me, but I need to prioritize different events and work accordingly. That is all about the time management.

A teacher needs to prepare well if he has to teach something. It is of the same importance that a student ask questions when a teacher is teaching.  Otherwise the teacher doesn’t know what to do or how to improve.   Also  you ask a doubt or a question to someone  as you feel the person may know the answer. It normally gives a sense of proud of happiness to the person whom you are asking. So don’t worry about what the teacher will think.  It is the duty of a good student to ask questions.”

I loved his simplicity. He is a great man. As great men are always simple. 🙂


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