May 11, 2021

COVID-19 through the eyes of a student: how to maximize the university experience

COVID-19 through the eyes of a student:  how to maximize the university experience

Hear from a first-year student on how he experiences university life during the pandemic, the benefits of remote studying and working, how he still gets the most out of the experience, and how you as a student can, too!

Hi Joaquin! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself: what are you studying, where are you from?

Hi! My name is Joaquin, I’m from Argentina and I’m currently studying International Business Administration at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. I’ve had quite an international life, living in 7 different countries. Currently, I’m living in Rotterdam at The Student Hotel, for which I am also an ambassador. Just like I am for Minite!.

"You have to get used to this current reality and be resourceful. Being part of a community like The Student Hotel and Minite is important to me"

Moving abroad for your first year of university, starting a new chapter in your life during a global pandemic: what was that like? What made you decide to come to the Netherlands vs online remote studying?

I decided to come to Rotterdam ultimately because I wanted to experience that independence of living by myself, meeting new people, and making a change from the environment I was used to. There are still upsides to the situation, online learning is one for me. It was strange, you come to university expecting one thing - going to classes, partying, meeting people - the social aspect is a big part of the student experience and now it’s the opposite of that, you spend 9-12 hours/day in your room, you can’t see people. But you have to get used to this current reality in the end and be resourceful.

What has your experience as a “pandemic” student been like so far?

An amazing one. Living at TSH was a deciding factor that because it offers a space for students where despite the pandemic imposed restrictions, you can still have a social life, meet with fellow students in the building, have small gatherings in a safe environment. Being able to have this experience, live with other people helped, compared to being by yourself as a first-year student, going through this pandemic alone.

What do you find most challenging about being a student at a time like this?

Academically, classes are more strict, there’s no room for any social interaction as you would have in a face-to-face scenario. Personally, struggling between being responsible and resisting the temptation to attend (larger) social gatherings. As a student, of course, you want to be there with your friends and party but now we must be responsible.

How can other students make the most of their student life during Covid-19?

Join student organizations or projects. Right now I am getting involved in the “I DO” project from Erasmus and I have the opportunity to meet a group of new people this way as well. Try to find a community. I found that in TSH but also through being an ambassador for them and Minite. Find a small group of friends with whom you can have safe social interactions because we’re still in a pandemic and have to be conscious. But social interaction is a must for everyone’s wellbeing.

Why did you choose to live at The Student Hotel?

Besides the facilities it offers, the best part of The Student Hotel is the community. This is what makes it so appealing. Especially during COVID: it’s extremely international, which is comforting for a foreigner in a new country. Without that, it would just be (very) nice accommodation.  But there's so much more to it. The community aspect makes it most appealing to students while offering a nice integration into college life. I am also a proud TSH ambassador: I propose events, ideas to help accommodate the students better, support the community (movie nights, ping pong tournaments, etc.) but I’m also helping out the others. You have the individual creative side but also the team part. I really enjoy it.

Why did you sign up for Minite?

To gain experience and apply my skills and knowledge to companies. Experience is everything in the business world. Minite is an easy, flexible opportunity that provides me solid experience, all in a part-time, flexible format where I decide when, where and how to work - exactly what a student looks for (especially our generation!) The sign up process is super easy, very facilitated and I gladly took advantage of that.

What does a Minite ambassador do and why did you become one?

I became an ambassador because I genuinely believe in Minite's mission and I know there are other students just like me searching for this exact offering. There’s no fee, quick onboarding process, no downside to signing up. The flexibility aspect is a valuable one that people look forward to.

As an ambassador, I am spreading the word about Minite and its opportunities to fellow students. Most of the ambassadors at Minite are IBA colleagues. It provides a great connecting point with everyone, ties us together. Even if currently in an online setting, you get to know people better, it feels more natural, definitely like building and being part of a community.

We also have ambassadors from other universities and studies, with a more technical background - it’s refreshing to see that, it’s a group of people I wouldn’t have been able to be part of now, given Covid and how hard it is to socialize outside your inner circle.  There’s a great sense of community here! Minite is so much more than a matching platform. Ultimately it adds value by providing students help with preparing for and building their future career with free workshops, career-focused events, constant guidance and support from a team of people with a great deal of experience behind and within the business world. How great is that?

"I became a Minite ambassador because I genuinely believe in Minite's mission. Many students like me are searching for this exact offering"

Students all over the world feel like they are missing out on these particular fun years given all the restrictions with Covid. Do you feel the same? 

What I miss most are those “social breaks” in-between classes, just grabbing a coffee with your colleagues and having a chat. Zoom can’t beat the real thing. I’ve been compensating primarily by living at TSH. It allowed me to make a really good group of friends here that I’m able to spend time with every day.

What impact has Covid had on your student experience and you as a young adult?

I’m conflicted because academically speaking, it’s been useful because for me virtual learning is more effective, offering me the flexibility to study, watch a lecture whenever and wherever I want, and do it at my own pace. That’s a huge benefit of remote learning. The greatest downside remains the lack of proper social interaction, I still want to have the full Erasmus student experience. But, being an ambassador for both Minite & TSH and being involved in various projects helped me have quite a good experience as a first-year student so far.

What’s the bright side of it all while we  wait for things to get back to normal?

I'm a big fan of change and for better or worse, things will change next year. I'm excited for what's coming, a slow return to that normal student life. I enjoyed the freedom in terms of the flexibility that virtual learning offered us. I believe that flexibility is the #1 thing many students now look for and this ties nicely with the freedom you have as a Minite High-flyer. I can decide when, where and how I work, so it always fits my schedule. Gen Z, my generation, saw that it's possible to step away from that 9-to-5 strict working mentality, to a more flexible, even remote setting, and companies are starting to realize that as well. That's why Minite's offering is more valuable than ever right now.

"Flexibility is the #1 thing many students look for. As a Minite High-flyer, I decide when, where and how I work, so it always fits my schedule"

Are there any final thoughts or pieces of advice you’d like to share?

If you can do anything in less than 30 seconds just do it! This helped me keep a nice environment to study in. It’s a small tip but it helps you be more organized and "keep it all together."

"Flexibility is the #1 thing many students look for. As a Minite High-flyer, I decide when, where and how I work, so it always fits my schedule"

Are you a student looking to build a strong CV, increase your skills and knowledge, gain flexible work experience and meet future employers? Decide on your hourly rates, and choose when, where, how and how much you work? Want the flexibility to work less during exam period, and more during the holidays? Join hundreds of High-flyers building a strong career with Minite. Sign up on Minite,and pandemic-imposedand and well-beingand and,signupand a and and careers, ,.the and pandemic-imposedand and well-beingand and,signupand a and and careers, ,.th and let's skyrocket your future career together!

No items found.

Work with or become a student freelancer today.