Radboud University

Student Story: Lucie - Double Degree Bachelor's student in IBC & PPL

Lucie told us about doing a double degree at Radboud University, the upcoming events of Radboud Well-being Ambassadors, the importance of mental health and having a fun student life in Nijmegen.

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Lucie, a double Degree Bachelor's student in International Business Communication and Philosophy, Politics and Society

We interviewed Lucie on a sunny afternoon in her favorite cafe in Nijmegen, a few days after the Dutch government allowed cafe terraces to reopen. The smell of freshly made coffee, the sounds of conversations in various languages in the background, and the view at Dutch tulips created a perfect atmosphere for our talk.

Lucie moved from Germany to Nijmegen in 2018 to follow a Bachelor's programme in International Business Communication (IBC). “It was a very impulsive decision and Radboud ended up being the only university I applied to.” Lucie had visited Nijmegen during Open Days of Bachelor Programmes with her parents. “The campus looked beautiful. I liked the atmosphere here, and the staff was really helpful with accommodating questions”

Lucie had decided to study in Nijmegen before selecting the specific programme. She chose IBC because it incorporated many of her interests like linguistics and intercultural communication. “I was really interested in languages, but becoming a translator wasn’t really my thing. IBC looked interesting because it offered specialising in a language, but also viewed it in a business context.”

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"I liked pretty much all of my Spanish courses. Learning a new language was one of the biggest reasons I chose IBC. I think we connected pretty well with all our teachers. One of them is also the supervisor of my Bachelor thesis.”

The first year passed pretty smoothly for Lucie. She found courses like Intercultural Communication and Marketing Communication very interesting, went out a few times a week with friends, and even managed to complete the Honours programme for first-year students, but she felt like something was missing.

“I don't really do well by focusing only on one thing at a time. Although IBC was a broad study, I wanted to do something else on the side. At first, I thought that doing a second study was crazy, but then decided to give it a try.”

When deciding on the second degree, Lucie had thought of all the skills that she was good at. She knew that reading long texts was not hard for her, and she liked writing essays. The choice of a philosophy degree was pretty self-explanatory. “How do you manage to do a double degree?” is a question that Lucie answers every time she meets a new person. “Both studies don’t have as many contact hours, so it’s mostly a lot of self-study and self-discipline.”

There are many ways to combine the two disciplines. Lucie especially likes the domain of business ethics. She still does not know which career path she will take, but staying in academia and doing research on a subject she is interested in is one of her options.

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“A big part of going forward in academia is being critical of your own field. I noticed that in both disciplines. You think this theory is cool, and then you get another one and realise  that the other one actually doesn’t work, and this continues until you get introduced to a  contemporary viewpoint.”

Lucie also followed an Honours course Building Bridges. She worked in a think tank with students from different faculties. Their project aimed to ameliorate the communication between the university and students regarding mental health. “I think this think tank gave me a good look as to how a group project should work if everyone puts in what they can”.

One of the end products of this think tank was the creation of Radboud Well-being Ambassadors (RWA). It is a student assembly that aims to improve well-being on campus, raise awareness about mental health and reduce the stigma surrounding it as well as promote the services of Radboud Student Support.

“I think most students go through stressful situations. Taking care of your mental health is not an all-or-nothing situation where either you're doing completely fine or you need to urgently see your therapist. There are so many steps in between these two extreme edges of well-being, and every single one of these steps deserves to be acknowledged”.

This is the first year of the existence of this assembly. They launched a series of interactive workshops called Breaking the taboo which covered stress-management and finding individual coping mechanisms. Their third workshop on building healthy habits and breaking the bad ones will take place on May 17 at 19:30. You can sign up using this link. Radboud Well-being Ambassadors will also host a seminar on suicide prevention in collaboration with 113 Zelfmoordpreventie and IFMSA-Nijmegen on the 14th of May.

My flatmates are amazing. I'm lucky with my hallway because we have the same idea of what fun is. Our fridge is all covered with our pictures. It’s like a family. We do a lot of stuff together: we hang out a lot, make marshmallows on the gas stove, decorate our hallway, make dinner, take care of plant Jerry, and so on...”.

Lucie is a rather busy student, but as she said, she likes doing a lot of things at the same time, and having a fun student life in Nijmegen is one of them. She is really close with her flatmates with whom she shares the hallway of SSH& Hoogeveldt, one of the student complexes. “It feels like a classtrip. You’re in a little space with so many people and you try to navigate and hang out with each other. I feel like Hoogeveldt is a bunch of clueless people trying to make dinner”.

We asked Lucie to give some pieces of advice to future Radboud students. This is what she said:

  1. Look for some sort of group you can be a part of. They can be your classmates, roommates or study association committee, colleagues etc. Find a social circle where you feel good. Having superficial contacts may make you feel lonely, even lonelier if you were just by yourself.
  2. Make sure you enjoy your own company, especially now when it is harder to socialize. You should feel comfortable being by yourself.
  3. Figure out how your brain and concentration work: time periods when you are productive and those when you are not. If you feel like you are not being efficient, do not force yourself to work. That can be frustrating.

Author: Knar Ohanjanyan