“Oh my god, it’s so cold!” shouts Dominica from the ice bath. The Media and Business student is participating in the Student Wellbeing Programme’s ice-bath challenge. Before plunging into the ice-bath, participants are given a warm-up. Then they are given instructions on how to act once they are in the bath. “Focus on yourself,” coach Thomas van der Vliet tells Domnica. “You have to breathe slowly and stay calm.”

Exercise against stressful situations

Liberal Arts and Sciences student Alexandra saw the challenge on Instagram. She had come across the challenge before at a student event, but then she was too scared to participate. “But now I really want to do it,” she says. “I’m going to find a towel!”

Momin Qazi of the Student Wellbeing programme organizes the challenge to show that his platform is there to support students. “And we just want to do something fun,” he says. According to coach Thomas, the ice bath challenge is useful for learning to cope with stressful situations. “Because you can apply the same technique in everyday situations, such as an important presentation, a job interview or exam.”

Half-naked on campus

“The first second I thought I was going to die,” Domnica says afterwards. “The coach put ice in the bath just before I went in! Now I look like a sushi roll, I can’t feel half of my body.” Now that she is outside the bath, the heat is slowly coming back. “That feels weird. And that’s while I’m half-naked on campus,” she laughs.

Master’s student Strategic Management Max thinks everyone should join the ice bath challenge. “You don’t have to sit there as long as students doing the challenge – they were in it for two minutes. But you should really give it a try, because it’s fun. Besides, you always learn something new about yourself when you step out of your comfort zone.”

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