Ever since I found out that lecturer Julia De Vogel used to be an IBCoM student, I knew her story was definitely one to share! Wanting to know more about her IBCoM journey, this week I finally got the chance to interview her about about what it’s like to go from former student to present lecturer. Here is Julia’s story:
Julia is from the Netherlands, from a small town between Dordrecht and Rotterdam. She studied IBCoM because she enjoyed writing and the idea of improving her English. During her three years in the programme, the best thing about it was “how all the prejudices and stereotypes you have disappear from day one onwards”. As a lecturer, Julia says she loves that she is still in an international environment, because she knew she was going to miss that if she left.
Julia explained she never studied communication to become a lecturer specifically. It all came about when she was writing her master thesis and a friend informed her of a vacancy. As she had previous experience with tutoring, she figured she would give it a go and try teaching a class. She applied for the lecturing position and then, next thing you know, in September 2016 she was back in IBCoM. But this time as a lecturer.
I wondered if it was weird to go from sitting at a desk as a student to standing in front of the classroom and controlling it as a lecturer. “It wasn’t weird actually. Because of the teaching experience I had, but also because I feel like I know what students are going through. I’ve done most of the assignments already, read the textbooks, did the exams, so I feel like that makes my job a little easier. I hope I can empathise with people better because I know what it’s like. Other than that I just do it!”
Talking about her first day and how teaching went, it turns out that I was in the first class of Academic Skills that she taught! If you were to ask me how well she did, I would tell you she did perfectly – but I may be a little biased 😉 Julia revealed that she was nervous, “but of course you cannot show that. I just prepared and followed my slides.”
The difference between Student Julia and Lecturer Julia? “The biggest difference is not having homework, but now I have to do the grading. Luckily on the weekend whilst you are writing papers, I don’t have to do gradings! I still have to do the readings and stuff so that doesn’t disappear.” Chuckling a little, she also answered “I earn a living now so thats a big difference from being a poor student. I still have my student friends though, so it’s the best of both worlds.”
Now that she is a lecturer and has the insights and access to the backstage of IBCoM, I asked Julia whether there was anything she took for granted as a student that she doesn’t anymore. One thing that she mentioned was the amount of work that lecturers go through. “There are meetings every week where all the lecturers of the course come together to talk about the best approaches, how to develop slides and everything. It takes a lot of time and we do our best to find examples. I never thought about that as a student.”
Julia’s favourite thing about being a lecturer is to be part of student life a little. “I like talking to students and hearing their stories as well as have a positive contribution to their university degree. This is my first job and I’m happy to go to work every day, to hopefully benefit students with my teaching and to learn something.”
The lovely interview ended with Julia giving us two pieces of advice. From a student perspective, Julia suggests: “Plan as well as you can, even though it’s hard to work in advance. I enjoyed my student life a lot more because I was able to start things and finish them on time, and could enjoy things a lot more without a deadline in the back of my mind.” From a lecturer’s perspective, Julia persists students should pay attention to grading rubrics, “because so often students leave out things that could have easily been included!”
Curious for more insight, I asked Julia’s fellow lecturer and colleague Vasiliki, who was listening in on the interview, how she is as a colleague and lecturer. Much to Julia’s surprise, Vasiliki admitted that during the previous weeks they had been talking about giving Julia an award or building a statue for her to show how grateful they were. “She is always really helpful and a problem solver! She’s very reflective and great with the teaching material.” “That so sweet!” Julia replied with fake tears of joy.
This was her story, thank you so much to Julia for sharing!