Story by Anouk Huijbrechtse, Photos by Lana Schut
Melanie Flohil (23) is a fourth-year commercial economics student in Amsterdam. At 23, she’s already rocking it as a board member at student association Marco, making sure everyone has a great time. Marco brings students together with a whole bunch of activities. Whatever you’re looking for, Marco’s got your back.
Student associations provide an opportunity for students to network with fellow students in their studies. Let’s be real, networking is not always the easiest thing to do, but when you join a student association, you get to connect with like-minded individuals who share similar interests and goals. Plus, you get to build relationships with faculty and staff advisors who can provide valuable guidance and mentorship. This guidance can help students build relationships and expand their professional network, which can be beneficial for their future careers. ‘’At Marco, we’re all about meeting new people and building connections. It can be nerve-wracking to approach others at your first social event, but that is not necessary! Our community is super welcoming and open, so there’s no need to be scared,’’ says Melanie.
Melanie is familiar with the power of networking and shares how she has seen her network grow since joining Marco: ‘‘Since I joined Marco, my network has really grown a lot. We all follow each other on social media so that we can stay in contact. There is also a group chat that we use to help each other out with studying, or to ask if someone knows of a nice internship opportunity. I really enjoy having a big network because it can help me with my future career.’’
Student associations are known for throwing some pretty epic events, and Marco is no exception. With social events, volunteer activities, and academic workshops, there’s something for everyone. The best part is, there are no obligations. You can come to an activity whenever you’re available, and party like a rockstar, or learn like a scholar, depending on your mood. These events provide opportunities for students to connect with each other.
Melanie describes the different events: ‘‘At Marco, we strive to strike a balance between social and academic activities. From pub crawls to study sessions, we make sure to have a mix of both to keep things fun and productive.’’ Melanie says the board of Marco comes together every week to brainstorm different events they can plan. The board of Marco always keeps exam periods in mind when planning for activities, and makes sure to schedule study workshops and other helpful resources to support students during these busy times. After the exam week, they will plan more social, and less academic events. ‘’My favorite event so far has been the ski trip. We began planning this about 6 months before the trip, and it was so worth it! It was so fun to see each other in an informal atmosphere, and to have a little vacation with each other. I got to know a lot of new people, and I made some new connections; it was a blast,’’ says Melanie.
Joining Marco really helped Melanie improve her overall college experience. ‘’School was never my thing, especially because I have a few learning disabilities. These made it hard for me to even find the motivation to show up. Once I joined Marco, and eventually became part of the board, everything changed.
“I found my ‘tribe’, and therefore my motivation to show up at school increased big time’’
Suddenly, I knew so many people in school, I gained a lot of support, and it made going to school way more enjoyable! It was fun to bump into familiar faces in the hallways, and to catch up with them after class. Thanks to Marco, I found my ‘tribe’, and therefore my motivation to show up at school increased big time.’’
The study workshops also played a large role in improving Melanie’s learning disabilities. Through these workshops, she learned more about her own learning style and has found ways to study more efficiently.
‘’I would definitely recommend joining a student association if you want to meet new people, study with other students, and enjoy nice parties. I think the best thing about joining Marco is that I have made connections for life,’’ Melanie adds. So, if you want to meet new people, study with other students, and attend some wild social events, maybe a student association is the right choice for you. Plus, you might just make some connections for life!