VMU Giving Away an Extra Hour of the Day


Vytautas Magnus University is celebrating its 25th reestablishment anniversary with the motto VMU. In the Rhythm of 25 Hours. Reborn a quarter century ago, VMU has become a true alternative. Its students and graduates are a part of the new generation recognised by the world of today and striding bravely into the future. We talked about the symbolic 25th hour, the university and the significance of time with VMU Vice-Rector for Public Communication Prof. Auksė Balčytienė.

The university is dedicated to more than just studies. It is the place where you can tap into your creativity and fulfil your dreams. Giving people one more hour in the day for this purpose is brave and symbolic. Is this meant to encourage people and help them escape the daily grind?
When we talk about universities and their goals, for some reason we focus on the studies, the disciplines, the people, and the authority figures, something very specific and tangible, everything that is a part of the vision of our future selves: who we will become, what we will do or create…  But in these trains of thought and imaginary walks rarely do we realize that the university life is also inseparable from far less palpable things, these social creations such as companionship, friendship, love and happiness, i.e. everything that is measured within the categories of morality and feeling. They seem less predictable or foreseeable, and yet our lives would be immeasurably more desolate and boring without them. You would not even consider it a full life.
At the university, everybody is engaged in creativity. The intellectual action, progress and creativity must not remain in the margins. You are always at the centre here, because here you find your like-minded peers and friends, you argue, develop ideas and find yourself. And only after finding oneself can someone say that they are truly happy. Happiness is a feeling of being here and now. Happy people do not count the hours, the divide between work and pleasure disappears for them. They aren’t afraid to make mistakes or feel lost and uncertain, because they accept it as natural wrinkles in the pursuit of identity.
As we give away something intangible and even impossible, we address the understanding of daily life. Is this gift a way to make people stop for a minute, listen carefully and remind themselves of an activity which makes them the happiest, spend more time doing it, and perhaps stop wasting time on something insignificant?
The choice of an extra hour as a metaphor should put a kind of spotlight on things we often forget and do not discuss or put into words: the feelings, the human senses of intuition and empathy, these things that follow us every day whose birth and development are ideally served by universities and creativity. As for our talks about an extra hour, they probably arise simply from the desire to pause, stop the intensive passage of time and think about what really is happening to us, who we have become in this world which is full of great commotion and plagued by various traumas. On the other hand, this desire is simply one more promise to ourselves, an effort to have something (might as well be that extra hour). But then again, civilized experiences have shown that it is better to be, feel and live than to egoistically seek to own or possess something.
In your opinion, what is the most productive way to manage the time of the day?
Frankly speaking, I don’t know how to distribute the time of the day and I actually don’t even try to allocate it consciously. But I can tell you that the comfort zone for me is where and when I can calmly feel the passage of time. This is usually just a moment, but when I catch myself thinking about it, I know that I am who I am and that I am happy to simply be.

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