Let’s save the world!

The world changes unpredictably fast. It is not what we hope. We live in a time when the grounds for a safe world are shaking. The first generation of students since the Second World War studied and lived in an isolation for almost two years.

News and social media are filled with people venting their negative feelings on others and anxious and exhausted students’ messages. The same can be seen in research, to some degree in the interruption of studies, team arguments and rush in student health care. At the same time, the war on the east side of Europe has increased the fear of its expansion or even the possibility of a nuclear war.

Sunrise Avenue’s songwriter Samu Haber sings ”We leave the fear behind”. It is a good reminder. We decide what identity we choose but we should not give up in the face of fear. We need each other, the universities community.

I have lately considered the identity of universities of applied sciences. One of the founders of universities of applied sciences was Minister Christoffer Taxell. Universities of applied sciences were established for working life needs and raising of the education standard. Our present-day higher education identity consists of a systemic constellation of three key factors: working life, doing together or pedagogy and students. Together with the universities community, we seize the opportunity to solve complex issues, create innovations and challenge ourselves and the society for a better tomorrow.

Even today, we at Tampere University of Applied Sciences seize crazy and impossible challenges together with students. Let me give an example. In the summer, we received funding for a project which aims at solving the world’s largest waste problem created by the increasingly disposable clothing. We are researching the possibility of dissolving cloth materials to reuse the fabrics. We are saving the world for future generations.

Erring and incompleteness are a part of life. It is especially important to search for your path in youth. The key development task of youth is to search for personal identity – in other words, to get lost and experiment. It takes time. It has to be possible to change your mind and choose again. It is also fine not to know what to want from life.

There have always been wars. Nuclear war has been feared since Hiroshima bombing during the Second World War. Loneliness and isolation have not been uncommon in the Finnish mindscape and sparsely populated country.

Some always manage better than others. But our joint task is to support them who do not manage. All generations have believed that the future has something good to offer. Most depressed young people recover completely. We have the ability to survive and recover from diverse challenges amazingly well. The keyword is together.

Let’s challenge each other, demand great things from ourselves, rejoice together, solve problems but most of all, support and encourage each other.

Text: Tapio Kujala
Photograph: Saara Lehtonen