Burnout, But Don’t Burn Up

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After spending years and years being educated and constantly filling out standardized tests, the idea that these quantitative attributes carry on to impact us for the rest of our lives evidently looms over our heads. Or not. Either way, as each term dawns upon us, it can get a little more difficult to remember why you choose this life in the first place. I’ve gone through burnouts time and time again, and while I haven’t yet mastered the art of preventing them, I have some tricks that help me get out it.

Realize when you’re going through a burnout versus when you’re just having ‘one of those [lazy] days’.

While burnout may differ for everyone, I know when I’m going through one when I’m exceptionally demotivated, can’t concentrate on anything, and feel like no more information will diffuse into my mind. It feels more physically challenging than just having to go to a lecture when you’re really not feeling it. Learning to realize whether its a burnout or a lazy day helps you know when you really stop overworking. Realize, accept, and then try to get out it.

Take a break.

Rotterdam, and the university, have a lot of calm spaces to recollect yourselves. You could take a scenic stroll alone or with friends, take a nap back a home, or just chill. There are great spots that I personally recommend for some serene downtime, either around Kralingse Bos for free, or in the Trompenburg Gardens for around 3 euros. Beyond partying and studying, it is very important to take time for yourself to have some ‘downtime’ where you’re in a situation where you feel most calm. This really helps in, well for lack of a better term, rebooting yourself, so that your burnout doesn’t get the best of you. The sense of calm rather than a mental obstacle you can’t get over reduces the length and even strength of the burnout.

Eat something good.

This doesn’t just mean something healthy. Taking care of yourself physically will help you take care of yourself mentally; and vice versa. However, it is important to sometimes eat for your soul rather than just your beach body. Why? Feeling happy, even momentarily, can boost your motivation to do other things. If you’re really keen on staying ‘healthy’ rather than having something really greasy, there’s always really delicious fruits (personally, I miss the guavas and mangos from back home in Thailand) that you could try to get your hands on.

Do some work, but take frequent breaks.

Being someone with immense bad luck, I have never had a burnout that was kind enough to come before a break of some kind – no, I would always have more deadlines and more tests upcoming. As much as it sucks, doing a little bit of work or study maybe in 15 minute increments with similar breaks helps. Forcing yourself to concentrate might end up being counterproductive in some cases, so when your mind wanders off, instead of feeling like you need to punish yourself and force your interest onto your assignment or reviewing, take the break your mind craves.

And even more so, try not to leave things for last minute beforehand so that you have paced yourself out and aren’t stressed the night before the exam because you haven’t studied enough. If you’re honest with yourself and try to understand yourself and adapt instead of fighting it, you’ll never let a burnout burn you up.

 

Humans of IBCoM – France Preechawitayakul

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France is a BA-2 student now and came to Rotterdam in 2016, just to study media and communication here. “I was born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand and I always went to international school there.” She studied a year of communications back home, but decided that it was not international enough for her. So after eliminating universities in The States and the UK (due to their high tuition fees), France chose Erasmus University to further her studies. After asking her why then she opted for the Netherlands, she said: “I wanted to find a country where people spoke English, so I wouldn’t have to adapt that much and it would make university life and being away from home way easier.”

France was an IBCoM ambassador during the last year, which involved visiting high schools, information markets (college fairs) as well as representing IBCoM at the EUR Open Day to inform students about studying communication and media. There is also the ‘Student for a Day’ programme where high schoolers sign up to walk around on campus and go along to a lecture. “I feel like its a very fun and empowering job, as you are helping students who are in the position you once were.”

She explained that as an international student it was really exciting to be an ambassador. “I got to travel around and see the real Netherlands in the small towns and rural parts. Here I got to know about the true Dutch culture, because of the locals and it was also very interesting to see what students in high school are passionate about nowadays.”

In this second year of IBCoM, France also decided to start a YouTube channel and a blog mainly to document her life and speak about topics that interested her. She had wanted to do it since high school, but she felt it was a little too scary. After seeing her friends here at university following their interests and passions more and more, she also decided to go for it!

“I’ve become really passionate about health and fitness, which is really hard to maintain within the student lifestyle. So I enjoy providing tips and recipes on a healthier, but also cheap lifestyle to other uni students and also to show what I typically do in my day to be healthy.”

Now that the last term of the year has started France has also started her internship after a long battle of finding the right position. This hardship was generally due to the fact that most internships were offered to students who spoke Dutch and so even getting considered was difficult.

However, her housemate Simi Özmen (also BA-2 IBCoM) had recently started as a social media intern at Run The Trap events, which interested France and so she asked if there was another position available. “The company organizes events and concerts playing electronic dance music around the Netherlands, a style of music that I’ve always really loved since I was young, so it was was perfect from me.” There was a spot available doing PR and promotion, which she applied to and managed to get. “It was the best decision I’ve ever made.”

Thanks to France for telling her story and check out the Run The Trap party on May 5th here in Rotterdam!

Winds of Spring in the Netherlands

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It is already April and we are finally saying goodbye to the awful winter that has kept us in hibernation for the past few months. A bright sunshine and 20 degrees Celsius are a good enough sign that the brutal Dutch winds are now long gone and we can yet again enjoy our daily cycling commutes with the gentle (ish) winds of spring of the Netherlands.

Happy sheep are skipping around their fields and us humans are starting to enjoy outdoor activities again. Whether it is running, walking, skipping or even crawling (depending on the severity of your binge eating during the winter hibernation), we are definitely showing some signs of life while enjoying the blossoming Magnolia trees and the brightly coloured daffodils and tulips – because, let’s be honest, Spring would simply not be Spring in the Netherlands without these beloved Dutch flowers. Fields and fields have come into bloom and if you’ve caught sight of them, the next thing to add on your ‘Spring to do list’ is the beautiful Keukenhof gardens that are open until the 13th of May, so hurry up and enjoy this Flower Park with its ridiculous amount of beautifully arranged tulips.

Apart from the brightly coloured flowers however, Spring in the Netherlands also means that all the shops begin to fill up with items in a bold shape of orange – and no it is not connected with Trump in any way, so you can now relax. It is all due to the preparation for Koningsdag on the 27th of April, which is the celebration of the King’s birthday and pretty much the biggest party in the Netherlands. Take this cue and start picking up some lovely orange attire and get ready to party like a true Dutchie.

Spring in the Netherlands also means that the previously isolated large open squares transform into huge seating areas, where every Dutchie, with his/her dog, grabs a ‘biertje’ and soaks up some long-awaited Vitamin D (hopefully without burning themselves). However, to fully enjoy this experience you have to be really quick as the ‘terrasjes’ fill up in the blink of an eye. So, don’t hang about, catapult yourself into the first available seat and enjoy the splendid Spring sunshine.

Another way you can tell Spring is finally here, is to keep an eye for the inevitable rise of bare legs on the streets. ‘Rokjesdag’ or ‘skirt day’ is the first day of the year that it becomes warm enough for the Dutchies to free their legs. Made popular by the Dutch writer Martin Bril, Rokjesdag is no longer merely a day, but in fact symbolic of the start of Spring. If you’re searching for a date for this unofficial holiday, don’t. Naturally dictated by the ever-changing Dutch weather, there is no fixed day on the calendar for this so-called skirt day, so make sure to keep an eye on the weather forecast and Buienradar, prepare your best skirt, and pray it won’t rain.