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News > General > Get Real! With Alina Katz

Get Real! With Alina Katz

14 Jan 2022

“Be open and take as many opportunities as you can. There’s just so much to gain from every single new thing that you’re going to be able to try and maybe some old things to see.” These are the words of alumni Alina Katz (‘18) as she wrapped up the recent Get Real! Series.

For Seniors heading off to university, it can be a daunting process as they transition towards this new phase of life. Understanding that this period comes with a myriad of questions from our students, The International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) created the Get Real! Series to give our current Panthers a chance to learn more about university life and ask important questions in a small group environment. 

Hosted by Alumni Engagement & Development Lead Kendra Jones, the fourth installment of the series features Alina Katz (‘18) as she discusses university life in the Netherlands and the transition to life after ISKL. From learning how to live with ten people she has never met before to managing time between studies and other obligations, Alina gets real and provides valuable tips on the questions one might have on surviving university life! 

Should I live with a roommate?

A shared experience as you enter university is living with other people and getting a roommate. This might be a change for students, especially if they’re used to living at home with their family. 

Alina, who graduated from ISKL in 2018 and started her bachelor’s that same year in University College Utrecht (UCU) said, “I lived with ten people at one point. It’s different to live with random people you probably haven’t met before, so managing those relationships sometimes takes a little bit of skill and patience. But honestly, I only really had good experiences with the people I lived with. It’s nice to have someone there when you get home; you can talk about your classes and have dinners together.” 

How do I have a balanced lifestyle as a student?

A balanced lifestyle is essential for optimal academic functioning and a student’s well-being, and on this topic, Alina’s piece of advice is on prioritizing and finding like-minded peers. “You’re not going to go and study super hard every single night, but you’re also not going to go do other adventures every day after class. I found that a way to achieve this balance was to have friends that I could study and also hang out with.” 

“I think it’s also important to remember to be kind to yourself. At UCU, the workload may not be different from what IB is, but the workload can feel like a lot more than what you’re used to, just because you have so many other things going on. And that’s totally fine.” 

Are the professors the same as my high school teachers?

When asked about her experience with professors, Alina mentioned that it differs from a teacher-student interaction. “It’s more like a professional feeling, and I think the best thing that you can do is respect their time, understanding that if you send them an email Friday afternoon, they’re probably not going to look at it until Monday. If we send them long emails with long explanations or questions, they’re probably not going to read it. They’re probably going to make an appointment to meet in person. I found this out the hard way.” 

Any other dorm hacks?

Senior Liam M. (22’) posed a question that most Seniors are itching to know: the skills needed when students are moving into dormitories, which is a shared space with many different people who are most likely to be first-timers themselves. 

“I can help with this. One of the things that I did with all of the different houses that I lived in was establish a cleaning schedule that we agreed upon at the beginning because, I promise you, that is where most of the conflicts will be about. Sometimes your housemates can become your best friends. And it’s really important not to let small things get in between that possible friendship, which can stick with you forever.”

Curious to find out more? We invite you to watch the full video as Alina gave more insights into students’ questions when starting universities, such as dealing with conflict management, important errands, travel opportunities, and more! A big thank you to Alina for keeping the Panther spirit alive and providing us with warm stories and valuable anecdotes for current Panthers.

Are you an ISKL alumnus with academic, career, or general life advice you would like to share with our current students and alumni? Let us know! The next installments of each series are already in the planning stages, and we are eager to include a variety of voices and perspectives. Have other ideas about knowledge-sharing opportunities? We would love to hear about it at [email protected]. Once a Panther, Always a Panther!

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