As her masters implies, Malu finds sustainability of great importance, yet she finds her studies can help her in broader fields. “I really enjoy the aspect of taking a business study, but with a focus in sustainability. Sustainability is of huge importance lately, thus I feel a focus on this career can help me have a positive, relevant impact. Particularly, I want to impact people by teaching and informing others. I believe creating awareness is the first step to a more sustainable future. But there are still many who could benefit from learning more about the state of the environment and what we as a society can do to stop further degradation.”

Malu’s interest in teaching comes from her parents: both are educators in Biology. “I have always admired the way they could positively influence their students and help form their vision of the world. For this reason,I aspire to work in the field of environmental education, to open people’s eyes to the current environmental issues and empower them to do their part.”

Striking a Balance

If going to University three days per week for her masters isn’t enough considering the distance needed to travel, Malu works on the side and is active within a student team of Positive Change, promoting her faculty’s mission statement. “Before I started my masters I was studying hospitality management, after which I spent two years working full time in the hotel industry. Currently, I work in a hotel in Amsterdam three days per week. This is one of the main reasons why I decided to live in Utrecht – it is a perfect middle point between my studies in Rotterdam, and my job in Amsterdam. I also write articles for Positive Change.”

Malu is aware that her schedule can be tiring and demanding, yet she has devised strategies to cope with this in different ways: “One of the activities that helps me the most during the week is having a run around the city in the morning. That really helps me relax a lot during the day. Other activities that I find quite soothing are drawing and painting. My graphic skills are not the best, yet it’s a skill I enjoy practicing now and then.”

Hibernation mode


Malu spends two or three hours in public transport daily: “What do I do with my free time during my commute? I love reading books. Usually, my picks are non-fiction books focused in philosophy or humanism.” As she points out, using the time wisely during her commute helps her delve, learn and relax while reading her books. “I just simply think it’s a more relevant way of spending my time rather than scrolling mindlessly on my phone – what I refer to as setting your brain in ‘hibernation mode’. If you ask me what I did for the past 2 hours on my phone I would have no clue on what to answer. Instead, if you ask me what I read about for the past 2 hours I would be able to richly describe the plot and the argumentation behind it.”

Upon arriving at the station in Utrecht, Malu admits with remorse that she prefers buying paper books rather than eBooks. “Quite puzzling when considering my study focus on sustainability, I agree. But I prefer paper books since I usually have a pen on hand to take notes and highlight my favorite phrases on the book.”

Just when I ask her what book she is reading at the moment, she shouts: “Oh wait! I have to leave urgently, the bus is waiting outside and I have an important appointment – sorry, and bye!”

Fortunately, she did make it on time.


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