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A sip of water against exam stress or not?

A sip of water against exam stress or not?


Joris Hilterman

Podcast about student life

Podcasts are extremely popular and are shooting up all over the place. News, sports, food and unsolved murders: you name it and there is a podcast about it. About almost everything, thought Katinka van Kan (28) from Maastricht, who is an consciousness coach focussing mainly on students. Student life was the subject that was missing. Van Kan filled the void. For example, how to deal with exam stress?

“I am a fan of podcasts,” says Van Kan. “For me they are an alternative to staring at a screen. It is fun and you learn something from them.” For ‘The Student Life Podcast’ Van Kan mainly speaks to Maastricht students and professionals. Her listeners, on the other hand, can be found far from Maastricht, as she can see from her statistics: “There are even listeners in Mexico, India and Canada,” she says proudly. There are nine online at the moment.

She comes up with the subjects herself or they are put forward through her social media. So far, these have included student finances and substance abuse. Her first podcast is about exam stress. What can you do about it? Some of things she mentions, are to create a study plan, don’t put off studying, find a study buddy, and stay calm if you don’t know the answer to the first question. Is that not stating the obvious? Certainly, says Van Kan. “I tell the students things that they often already know. A panic attack? Take a break, breathe calmly and put your thoughts in order. But can you actually do that? We practice that together. But also, not every solution is the right one for everybody. Sometimes drinking water can help if you become panicky, whereas for others, it makes them fear that they have to go to the toilet. In addition, I think that students like knowing that they are not the only ones suffering from such a thing as exam stress. Even though they actually already know that.”

The podcast is also a form of marketing for her coaching business, says Van Kan. “People get to know me a little bit.” After a study of Social Work at the University of Applied Sciences in Sittard, she completed a study programme in autism-friendly coaching in Utrecht and in Consciousness Coaching in Maastricht. Since the last Inkom she focuses entirely on students. “Partially because of a need, but also because I learned a lot during my courses that I would like to have known when I was a student.”

Van Kan helps “students who are in between ‘being stuck’ and ‘seeing a psychologist’.” UM psychologist Liesbeth Mouha welcomes this. “There is a great need for help among students. It is good that this type of coach takes on some of the load. It is important, however, that coaches know their limitations. That they know when someone should be referred to a psychologist.”

Coach is not a protected title and there is a wide range of coaching courses. What should students look for when they try to find a coach? Mouha: “There needs to be a click. The same applies to psychologists. You can have as many titles as you want, without a click you will never be able to get the connection that is required to make changes. Does it feel right? Do something with that, otherwise don’t. The responsibility lies with the students.”



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