It was Poetry week and I admit wholeheartedly that I read poetry. I even bought a book of one of the nominees for the Poetry Prize 2014: ‘Jaja de oerknal’, meaning ‘Yeahyeah the big bang’ with poems by Maria Barnas. One of the poems in this book is a four page intriguing list of items, things and issues that people fear; a long list of the obvious and peculiar phobia.

This list ignited me to think more about anxieties of friends and family. A dear friend of mine ánd her daughter are both afraid of dogs, so apparently they suffer from cynophobia. The mother also has

arachnaphobia while the daughter also fears cows (bovinophobia), both very interesting combinations. I finally understand that another good friend has chorophobia. This means that the person is suffering from fear of dancing. When we have a party and everybody is on the dance floor, he always looks at us from a distance with anger and fear. An international colleague has problems going to international conferences (while it is her work) which might be a sort of social performance anxiety or social phobia: the fear of being evaluated negatively in social situations or fear of meeting strangers. Very awkward for someone who’s core business is networking during such conferences.

I did not find a phobia specifically related to students or to studying. Unless you include the fear of books (bibliophobia) or cenosillicaphobia which means that you fear empty glasses. The latter is not yet

acclaimed as an official phobia. But students never attending classes might have scolionophobia, fear of school. I have a colleague who I believe is suffering from asymmetriphobia, the fear of asymmetrical things. If you ever enter his office you will recognize it immediately. And myself? It must be clear I do not suffer from metrophobia: fear or hatred of poetry.

Hans-Georg van Liempd is program manager at TiU and president of EAIE. He blogs for Univers.

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