Choosing the wrong programme yet again was not an option for him. “I have to get it right this time”, says Mitchell. He was referring to the International Bachelor Economics and Business Economics (IBEB), his second programme after previously studying Law at Leiden University. “I stopped during the last period there. Even though I passed the courses, I didn’t want to study Law anymore.” During the period covering criminal law, Mitchell realised he didn’t want to work as a lawyer or jurist later. While stopping with Law was a well-considered choice, it still gnaws at him. “You still feel you failed somehow. Stopping with your studies dents your self-confidence. I wanted to study law for such a long time, so the decision to not follow through on that was really difficult. I was sick about it.”

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Economics was always Mitchell’s back-up plan and the closest university was in Rotterdam. But the first weeks at EUR didn’t quite go as he had hoped. “I could never find my way around. A year ago I picked Leiden because I found EUR’s campus too big. I also had trouble grasping mathematics and I initially thought that in Rotterdam you only got three days to complete your homework. It turns out you get ten days. All kinds of things where I now think: was I actually stressed out because of that? But at the time these things were really an issue.”

Mitchell is now enjoying life in Rotterdam. He no longer loses his way, and he is particularly happy with his studies compared to his time at his previous university. “In Rotterdam you have a lot more options to study independently. Take the online study environment, for example. Lecturers clearly had to get used to the idea, but it works. Lectures, assignments and answers are quickly available online. In Leiden the issue was more if it would be available online at all.” Mitchell does feel it is unfortunate that the campus isn’t located in the city centre. “Last year I was in the middle of Leiden, so between lectures I could go into the city and maybe grab a drink at an outdoor cafe.”

Mitchell has no plans to move into student housing. Commuting is no problem, he says. “The entire trip is less than an hour. Take the underground from Blaak station and you’re at the university in no time. I’m always amused by the crowds walking from Kralingse Zoom to the campus. It reminds me of the zombie TV series The Walking Dead.” Mitchell feels living at home allows him to combine the best of both worlds: continue working in a pub restaurant in ’s-Gravenzande (‘I can’t find it in my heart to quit my job there’) and studying at the university. “I feel really good about it now.”