People at DTU

Kristian Ejlsted, studying biotechnology on the fifth semester of the BSc Eng programme. Caught by Marianne Vang Ryde in the foyer of Building 220 on 4 August.

What are you doing here in the middle of the summer holidays?

I have a student job here at DTU Biosustain in a department where we are working with gas-fermented bacteria to make biofuel. And in a few minutes I’ll be meeting a friend. We are setting up a company that sells algae that can shine in the dark.

What is your biggest challenge right now?

Time: I’m interested in a lot of things—also things outside of my studies—so I’m always pressed for time. At DTU, you have so many opportunities and there are lots of fantastic initiatives so it’s hard to limit yourself. Right now I’m and thinking about how I can organize my courses next semester in a smart way so that I both complete my study plan and have time for everything else.

Is it The Study Progress Reform that is the problem?

I do not see The Study Progress Reform as being much of a problem anymore. You just need to make sure you take the courses you need in order to call yourself a biotechnology engineer. But that’s really not a problem.

The 25 per cent degree of freedom of choice that DTU has introduced has made a big difference to me. Of course, it wouldn’t make any sense to study French history of philosophy, but the sky is the limit if you choose something connected with your study programme. I earned points for being at Roskilde Festival with a project and I have completed a project at UCPH so there are a lot of possibilities—which as far as I know—don’t exist to the same extent at the other universities. There are more rigid.

What makes you happiest?

It’s great when you learn something new or how something works in connection with a course, a task, a laboratory test, or whatever. That’s what’s keeps me going.

If my student job did not hold out any sustainable perspectives or I didn’t feel it did something good for the world, I probably wouldn’t do it. There’s a reason why I find my field of study so stimulating. It’s because in one way or another I believe I can help to make the world a better place. But I don’t think about saving the world every day when I’m studying. I think it’s something that comes later.