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NSM Focus | Alumnus Riki de Wit: “The glass is full to the very top if you dare to enjoy every drop in it”

After her Business Administration study programme, Riki de Wit (26) knew what her next step would be: working as an external advisor in the commercial sector. However, the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to that and brought her the opposite: she has been an internal advisor at the Maasstad Hospital in Rotterdam since 2020. Despite being a different turn of events, the match turned out to be a great one.

“I now work as a Bureau Nazorg & Capaciteit (after-careFoto - Riki de Wit (002) and capacity) advisor at the Maasstad Hospital. I work on improving the processes related to the inflow, through-flow, and outflow of patients. To be able to deliver the right healthcare to the right patient at the right time – that is the ultimate goal that I contribute to as an advisor. It is a complex process that requires the analysis of internal processes and a good collaboration with regional partners.”

Why did you choose Business Administration at the time?

“I found organisations interesting, so business administration was a logical choice. However, I also wanted to learn about the social side, about how you bring people along in changes. What appealed to me with Nijmegen is that there was a strong focus on the “soft side” in the Bachelor’s, and this was definitely also the case for the Organisational Design and Development Master’s programme that I went on to complete. After spending a gap year in Botswana, where I worked on a children's education project and saw how important culture is in human change, I knew I wanted to continue my education in this field.”

What was your experience of your student years like?

“It was unforgettable! I learned, developed, and did a lot: I was a mentor, helped out on open days, worked as a student assistant, and was active in AIESEC, Enactus and in the N.S.V. Carolus Magnus and Dispuut S.A.G.A. student associations. I have always experienced a lot of freedom to choose my own path in the things I enjoyed doing and that energised me. It has enriched my life enormously. It is therefore not surprising that I am very fond of Nijmegen and the Radboud University. I still feel like I’m coming home when I cross the Waalbrug, even though I haven't lived there for years.”

What was a valuable moment for you?

“It was during a lecture with about eighty other students. I had a question and I remember that the lecturer used my name, “yes Riki, go ahead”. That meant a lot to me. I thought: wow, as a lecturer you tried your best to know who is in your audience. For me, there was a kind of equivalence in that moment. I felt like a person and not a number. It was a defining moment in which I was encouraged in the idea that everyone has a certain value, a certain power. It is a feeling that I want to pass along.”

You have been a volunteer with the Team Alzheimer foundation since June 2021. Why?

“In 2018, my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 52. It was a shock, especially with it being at such a young age. I didn’t know that was possible. Team Alzheimer, a foundation that raises money for research into the disease, and Alzheimer Nederland have provided me with a lot of support and information since then. I’m keen to return the favour. By doing a Challenge, I recently raised over 3,000 euros for Team Alzheimer in one month, for example. With my efforts, I hope to draw attention to the fact that this disease can also affect young people. Not just getting something, but giving something back in return, that is a common thread in everything I do anyway. I like to help others move forward. I hope that others experience it in that way.”

Where would you like to be in your career in two years’ time?

“That’s a question I get asked a lot, haha. I really do not know. I want to be good at what I do first, build a solid foundation, be a good colleague, give back to others, and then see what the next step might be. I do not see the world as a place that can be created, and certainly not planned. I believe that if things are meant to be a certain way, it will happen. However, I also believe that you can very much create your own chances and opportunities in life if you are willing to go for it, keen to give back at times and receive at others. Sometimes I say that the glass isn’t half full or half empty, but that it is full to the very top if you dare to enjoy every drop in it. Drawing on the positive and looking at it that way certainly gives me a lot of strength and energy in everything I do.”

What advice would you give today’s students?

“Good is good enough! In my time, nearly everyone wanted to graduate cum laude, get the best job straight after graduation, and earn the highest salary. Now that I look back, I was influenced by that as well. However, I would say: take it easy, if you stay true to yourself, everything will work out. It may not be perfect, but there is no need for that at all. Stop for a moment during the day, take it step-by-step, and you will make it. Do not forget what is important to you and hold on to that. Everybody is unique. It would be a shame if we lost that authenticity and all become the same. I think that if you feel secure enough to know that “good enough” is “good enough”, then you’re in the right place. I wish that for everyone.”