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Get to know Sophie van den Houdt!

When did you do the IDA master?
2018 – 2020
How was the IDA Master helpful for what you are doing right now?
I’m currently working as a junior researcher and teacher at the department of Medical and Clinical Psychology at Tilburg University. Pretty much all skills that I have developed during IDA have been really helpful for the project I’m working on, such as structural equation modeling in R, biological and physiological correlates and proving feedback. I truly feel that IDA offered me the perfect preparation for the role I’m currently in.
What was your favorite course? And why?
Pretty cliché, but I enjoyed all courses. I feel every course helped me with developing and sophisticating relevant skills, and the course content was always interesting yet challenging at the same time.
What was your favorite moment of the time as an IDA Student?
I enjoyed writing and presenting my first year paper and master thesis; it was fun to show our work to fellow students and professors. I also enjoy(ed) spending time with my classmates, both on and off campus.
What was your motivation to finish your studies?
In the very first weeks I felt as if I had made the wrong decision, because I wasn’t really sure about what I wanted to do after IDA. Both the people and the program itself made me decide to stay, and I’m very happy I did! I always enjoyed what I was doing.
Did you experience stress or pressure in your studies, and if yes how did you deal with it?
Sometimes, especially during the first semester and graduating during the pandemic. However, because our cohort was so small (5 people), we always made sure to check up on each other and help each other out where we could. The professors were always supportive and understanding, and offered us advice whenever needed.
What can you advise current or future IDA students?
Enjoy your time! It is the perfect program for both those who already have found their passions as well as those who haven’t yet: keep exploring your interests and learning new skills but most importantly, have fun while doing so.
How was your overall experience in the master?
I had a great time and I’m really glad I decided to stay after having some doubts in the first weeks. Not only have I learned a lot of new things and developed a wide variety of skills, but I also met great people and figured out what I enjoy doing most.
What did you do in your international traineeship and how did you like it?
I was supposed to go to Barcelona for the RECSM Summer School on Survey Methodology, but this took place through Zoom instead. I still really enjoyed the courses I took and definitely recommend it to current and future IDA students (or anyone else who is interested).
Are you still in touch with other Alumni Students?
Yes 🙂
How did you experience the relationship to your teachers?
The setting of the lectures and the interaction students have with the professors is definitely one of the biggest strengths of IDA. They were always supportive and listening to whatever we had to say. I enjoyed that we got to know them better and vice versa, which was also helpful when exploring topics for the first year paper and master’s thesis, but also for internships and roles for after graduation.
Did you know from the beginning what you want to do after your master? How did you find out what you would like to do?
No. What helped me was networking and talking to other researchers to get a better idea of the things I could do afterwards. I also tried to keep exploring my interests and developing new skills, which ultimately helped me realizing what I enjoyed doing most. So don’t worry if you haven’t figured it out yet because you definitely will ;-).

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