Thomas Lønn Hammer, honours student, University of Oslo.
The road I traveled to the honours program consisted of bumpy, intuitive jumps from one interest to the next. I always did well in school, but in 10th grade I was so bored that I decided to go the practical route. I went to a mechanical crafts school, where I learned to weld and use the lathe. For my 2nd year I specialized on the offshore oil industry, and from age 18 to 20 I worked as an apprentice on various oil rigs in the North Sea – making good money. Unfortunately, the apprenticeship ended just as the oil crisis arrived and I didn’t get to continue. Next, I decided to do engineering. Meanwhile though, having spent 3 months alone in Southeast Asia on a motorbike, my interests had shifted. Hence, my first exposure to academia was a one-year-programme in international development instead. Facilitated by Oslo Metropolitan University, I spent one semester in Vietnam, and the next semester in Ghana. Still unsure what to do, I finished another one-year-programme in psychology at UiO after I got back home.
Many things had changed since 10th grade, and this time around I had an immense intellectual inspiration and conscientiousness. Not for the curricula necessarily, instead I had discovered the pleasure of reading non-fiction books, based entirely on where my interests brought me. Eventually that lead to philosophy, and finally I felt at home. As if that wasn’t lucky enough, UiO was going to start an interdisciplinary program, combining my 3 favorite academic interests: philosophy, artificial intelligence and interdisciplinarity. I applied and luckily got accepted. The dissatisfaction I felt towards academia has evaporated since, and I enjoy the program a lot. It scratches the previously unscratchable itch of free flowing, creative play of big ideas. That’s why I am an honours student I think, because it allows me to think big.