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09 February 2021

My Safety Net

Writing this blog was tricky for me as I was not sure if I want to talk about myself and the things that I was going through. I made up my mind to go ahead and write it because there are students out there just like me who put on a brave smile and cover up the turmoil of their emotions.

After finishing my Bachelor's in India, I applied for the Master program Information Science at the VU. I'm grateful to my parents, who believed in me and encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and find myself. It has been exactly one year since I decided to become a member of the University Student Council, and from that moment on my life has been a roller coaster ride with moments of joy, friendship, sadness, grief, fear, and accomplishment. Besides my full-time study, I work as a student assistant at my faculty. I also contribute to the University Student Council as a General Council Member. I want to admit that it has not been easy for me, especially after losing some very close people in my life in the past eight months.

I have not visited my family in eighteen months and that is the longest that I have stayed away from them

Every time I was in a difficult situation, and I had received the news of someone beloved to me pass away, I would shut myself down for days, and sometimes it would take weeks for me to get back to my routine. I immediately knew that I needed help and reached out to my study advisors because I could not afford to have any study delays. Despite everything, I continued to work and managed to get good grades. People close to me believe that I am a strong person, but the real reason is that I do not have a choice and, that is what has made me stronger.  I have not visited my family in eighteen months and, that is the longest that I have stayed away from them. I was homesick but my council members made sure that I am not alone and always reached out. I had regular coffee dates, invitations for some homemade food, and even for a Christmas dinner. Being a part of the Student Council as an international helped me connect with other students and gave me the feeling of being part of a family, as we are constantly looking out for each other.

There are ten Faculty Student Councils, one University Student Council, and 35 study associations that look for new members to fill in the board positions every year. This provides the best opportunity for a student to meet people and make friends. Moreover, it boosts your resume as you develop useful skills by working in a team, understanding group dynamics, and at the same time working together to improve the student experience.

To all the students who are struggling in their own ways, and continue to be optimistic I want you to know that you are doing amazing, and nothing can stop you from achieving your goals. It has been a tough year for all of us and that has made us into the person we are today.

ayesha

Ayesha Noorain Rizwan

Self Development
a.noorain.rizwan.usr@vu.nl

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