Tuesday, January 23, 2007

On the barricades, for once

If you're considering taking higher education, stay away from professions that give low-paid jobs. The government's proposal for reform of the pension system makes the aforementioned combination a certain loser.

This is why Studentenes Landsforbund, Norsk Studentunion, Akademikerne, Unio, several of the political youth parties and many others will protest outside the Storting on Monday. The cause isn't as sexy as Vietnam or Iraq. But be there at 1PM, or miss one of the most important protests in your time as student.

In short, the proposed system only allows you to gain pension points for paid work. All your income throughout your life counts. Those who take higher education have to take up large loans and enter professional life later than those who start working straight after high school. The latter can make money for a much longer time, and thus secure a more solid pension.

This is serious shit, but our campaign to change the proposal is gathering momentum. We want pension points for studying. Students are flying in from Narvik, Bergen, Ålesund, Trondheim and even Copenhagen to protest. Are you coming?

The illustration was made by Thomas M. during our good ol' Volda days of student representation.

To Ukraine with love

Pardon the cheap title paraphrase, but I'm off to Kiev on Thursday. Studentenes Landsforbund is meeting with the Ukrainian Association of Student Self-Governments to discuss what we can learn from each other.

My last and week-long journey to Ukraine was packed with diverse meetings, noisy night trains and lots of interesting people. The upcoming trip only lasts until Sunday, but it also includes all the aforementioned pleasures.

The picture above is taken in October, on the way to Kiev's Borispol airport. It's not the photographer's fault if the motive looks a bit blurry and weary.

Photo by Anthony Camilleri

Saturday, January 06, 2007

5 things you didn't know about me

Okay, you might know a few of them. Since the different readers of this column have known me for various amounts of time, some of these facts will hardly be news to all of you.

The challenge to present these information nuggets came from the journalist, literato and aspiring author Thomas M. If you, dear reader, write a similar piece on your blog it would be nice. But I'm not challenging you.

1. I'm not really from the Trøndelag area, but from the neighbouring region of Nordmøre. Most Norwegians can't really tell the big difference between the two, but I suffered through a mild identity and dialect crisis when I moved from Surnadal to Orkdal at the age of 13.

2. When I play the guitar, the most-imitated artist is Neil Young. Among the people who already know this are various flatmates throughout the last three years, who've had to endure my oft-repeated chord sequences and occasional attempts at melodic play.

3. My favourite football team is Blackburn Rovers, but I stopped being a passionate fan several years ago. My all-time favourite player is Alan Shearer, the best English striker in the 1990s.

4. My flatmates right now are Erlend and Jakob. Since I mostly use the apartment for sleep and food, I don't know them really well. What I do know is that they're both occasionally eager chess players and that they discuss wildly absurd topics rather often.

5. I bought a pair of running trainers yesterday. This means a new life of jogging and healthy lifestyle, until I again succumb to the old misconception that I'll be young and invincible until I'm forty no matter what I do to my body.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Sunset of a holiday

Hamar railway station, 3:37 PM. Fortunately, we'll gradually see more of the sun every day. Tomorrow it's back to the office. I'm quite honest when I say that I'm looking forward to it.

May the sun shine a bit extra upon the readers of this column in 2007.