“Where others go to work, Paula goes to have fun.”

Dear Teekkaris and university staff,

I have had the utmost joy and privilege to have worked with you for 29 years which have passed way too fast.

I started working at the Student Union on 12 September 1990 and up until recently I have served as the office secretary. During these years, the teekkari community in Tampere and my work in its student union in Hervanta have given me tremendous satisfaction. Firstly, I have been able to work in a youthful and dynamic environment. My work and the development of the student union have always allowed me to be myself. You lovely teekkaris and other people I have worked with have enriched my life with so many unforgettable moments that you could not even fathom. I will cherish memories of the joys and sorrows I have lived with you at the service desk, at YO Cafe, at Teekkarisauna, at academic festivities and, of course, at the Tammerkoski rapids on Wappu. You and my years at the student union have given so much to me. Thank you all for this.

If only I had the time, I would share all this and so much more with you. However, now I have to compress all the joyous and wistful tears that you have given me into a verbal form. You have always included me in the group as if I were just another teekkari from the street. In general, it has been a joy to see how well students have each other’s back and take everybody along to their activities. The teekkari community spirit is a wonderful and unique example of how to take care of each other and reach goals together. You have always remembered to thank me for a job well done as well as supported me when things have not gone according to the plan. Let me tell you: It warms the heart when you are treated as a human being and get to feel like a valued member of both the academic community and the working place. Leaving for work has always been pleasant, and during all these years I have never ever had the Monday morning blues. Rather, I have looked forward to all the exciting things coming up during the week. In every way, you have made me feel like a true teekkari in Tampere. Like I was one of you, one of a selected few. I have made a countless number of friends in these 29 years.

From the beginning I have very much enjoyed your merry company. Indeed, you have always treated me with grace and taken me along to your activities and parties. My family has noted that where others go to work, Paula goes to have fun.

When I ponder what gets me in such a good mood in your company, I find it is this: At the core of being a teekkari, you can find a primal force radiating with eternal youth – flexibility, immense energy, honesty, courage, wit, curiosity, trust, boundless excitement and love of other people. This all can be found, but the best part is that it is also highly contagious! So please allow me this: Since you have given me all this at work, I would like to take some of the spark with me into retirement. Let’s make sure that this source of common good stays pure, renews and and spreads out from one generation to the next.

PS. When I weighed the possibility of moving into retirement – amid the university merger process – it was a difficult thought to step away from our lovely community. Suddenly I realised, however, that I’m not really vanishing anywhere as I will still have the possibility to take part in your merry events and parties.

I will leave you in the hands of my wonderful successor, Helky. To some of you, she is already a familiar face from WappuRadio and NääsPeksi. Remember to take good care of her, like you did with me.

Finally, I would like to extend a very special ”Thank you” to all those with whom I have had the privilege of working here at the Student Union throughout my career. Sob, weep, and a kiss on the cheek.

Oh and one more thing: Don’t forget to invite me to the anniversary parties ­ or to come dragging me as I get older – I know your student number, and will be coming to crash the party otherwise, you see!

-Paula Nykänen