From Punk Rock to Post-Doc

-A word from Gradlinc

Nico Buitendag is a passionate individual who transitioned from punk rock to academia. Despite an initial inclination towards a law career, his love for punk rock shaped his worldview and fostered independence. Not only did he play in a punk rock band called  Liberty Valance, he even published a punk magazine, “Complete Control.” During his law studies, Nico’s fascination with legal philosophy grew, leading him to question fundamental aspects of law. Determined to pursue academia, he obtained a Master’s in Jurisprudence and Legal Philosophy from the University of Pretoria, followed by another Master’s in International Law from Leiden University. He then pursued a doctorate in International Law at Kyoto University. Currently, as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at North-West University, Nico focuses on research and publishing.

His next book will build upon his previous published book (States of Exclusion, A Critical Systems Theory Reading of International Law), and will delve into the intersection of critical systems theory and international law. Nico compares the difference between a single publication and a book to the distinction between a single and an album in music—there is more depth and breadth to explore within a book.

In a world that often promotes instant gratification and settling for mediocrity, Nico advocates for a different approach. He believes in the importance of hard work and pushing beyond one’s comfort zone, particularly for students and graduates. By embracing a “think punk” mentality, individuals can unlock their full potential and achieve their dreams.

Working hard is essential because it sets the foundation for success. It requires dedication, perseverance, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. Whether it’s studying late into the night to grasp complex concepts, conducting meticulous research for a thesis, or putting in extra effort to master a skill, hard work is the catalyst for growth and achievement. It is through this process of putting in the time and effort that individuals develop their talents and abilities to their fullest extent.

Moreover, not settling is a key principle that drives personal and professional growth. Settling for less than one’s potential is a disservice to oneself and the world. It stifles innovation, creativity, and the ability to make a meaningful impact. By refusing to settle, individuals challenge themselves to continuously improve and strive for greatness. They refuse to accept the status quo and instead seek to surpass expectations, contributing to their field in significant and transformative ways.

Nico’s philosophy encourages students and graduates to break free from societal norms and think independently. It encourages them to question the existing systems, challenge conventions, and find alternative solutions. By embracing this mindset, individuals develop a critical and analytical perspective, which is invaluable in academia and various professional fields. It enables them to identify gaps, propose innovative ideas, and bring about positive change.

In a world that often promotes complacency, Nico’s message serves as a reminder that greatness is within reach for those who are willing to put in the effort and refuse to settle. Through hard work, dedication, and a “think punk” mindset, students and graduates can unlock their full potential and forge their own paths to success, leaving a lasting impact on their chosen fields and the world at large.

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