Three UU students tell us about their hobbies

Dragons, dumbbells, needle and thread

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Hugo van der Wilt, Lara de Hoog and James MacSweeney. Photos by Chamee Giezenaar

‘I like it when people are themselves, even though we're not playing ourselves’

Hugo van der Wilt (18)
Match and Physics

Dungeons & Dragons

Hugo van der Wilt

“When I first started playing D&D online, I fell in love with it right away. The first time we played in real life, I was hooked.” Hugo plays the fantasy game Dungeons & Dragons with his friends often. It's something that takes a considerable number of hours — it's not unusual to play from eight in the evening until two o ‘clock in the morning.

It’s a game whose course depends on the fantasy of the players, the dices, and also the rules, which are guarded by the Dungeon Master, a role Hugo usually takes upon himself. Together, players try to complete a mission like saving a missing bard. “I enjoy it most when other players are surprised by a character, item or plot that I’ve put in a story and then I see them adjusting their story to it.” He’s also bought sets of dices and a DM screen, a board for protecting his storyline notes. “All of that contributes to the experience of the game.”


‘It's pretty different from what I study’

Lara de Hoogh (18)
College of Pharmaceutical Sciences


Lara de Hoogh

“I started making my own clothes when I was in the first year of high school, about six years ago. I once spent the holidays on a campsite where you can learn to sow little things and I found it incredibly interesting.”

After that, Lara spent four years attending a workshop from her mother’s colleague every Friday. She says she's learned a lot there. “I had to do everything without help, so I noticed I was getting better and better at it. If you take a look at my wardrobe now, a lot of the clothes I own were actually made by me. That probably says it all.”

Before she started studying Pharmacy, Lara seriously considered going to fashion school. “But now I mostly do it to be creative, something I don’t get to do much otherwise.”


'I need to blow off some steam after being in the lab all day’

James MacSweeney (23)


James MacSweeney

Master's student James already spent a lot of time in the gym back in Ireland. When he started a Master's programme in Utrecht, he was excited to keep working out at the sports centre Olympos, especially considering his study requires spending long days in the lab, something that is mentally demanding but not physically demanding. “I go to the gym six times a week. I just came out of the lab right now.”

James says his main reason for working out is his health. “I want to keep exercising. Besides, going to the gym gives me a fixed daily routine that I would like to maintain. I can picture myself doing this all my life.”

Although James isn’t a member of USV Obelix, he does mention the student association for power athletes. “That’s a great initiative that will hopefully get more people excited about going to the gym."


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An entire magazine on students' mental health!

This article was originally published in our print magazine Vallen en Opstaan ("Falling and getting back up again", Ed) which you can get for free at several places in the entire university from October 19 onwards.

This special edition talks about why UU students often struggle with mental health issues. They have to deal with high expectations coming from others and themselves, not to mention they live in a time where there are many options to choose from, which can be overwhelming. Most of the articles were written by four UU students.

You can take a quiz to see how you fare in the "perfection meter", learn how students overcame obstacles, reflect on the suggestions made by wellbeing experts, and recognise yourself in the photo comic ThirdFloor.  

The magazine is in Dutch but all articles are available in English online. Just click here to read them all!