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Meet Wouter Linckens!

Why did you decide to do the IDA Master?

After working for 20 years, I think being able to study full-time is a unique opportunity. I was longing to develop academic skills for years already. When I discovered the possibility to go even further in-depth in this research master’s program, I could not resist. I am father to a young son, and sometimes it is hard to combine parenthood with mentally challenging tasks. However, I do feel it is worth it. IDA offers a unique perspective and allows me to relatively freely navigate topics from Human Resource Studies and Work & Organizational Psychology. As such, it enables me to gather knowledge and gain skills that can really make a difference in the rest of my career.

What has been your favourite course and why?

Dynamics of Individual Differences. I enjoyed how it built on Theoretical Models of Individual Differences and how it made me reconsider my thinking about explaining human behaviour. It seems common sense that individuals change, develop, and interact with their environment. Small changes now, can set in motion a series of events leading to big changes later on in life. Yet, many insights in psychology are based on cross-sectional studies that hardly consider dynamics. I believe there is a lot of hard work ahead in uncovering the dynamics of personality, motivation, cognition, and behaviour.

Do you experience stress/pressure in your studies? How do you deal with it?

Yes. I think learning and developing skills in a predetermined pace always goes with some pressure. On the one hand I perceive more pressure in the IDA program than I used to in the psychology bachelor’s program. The workload is higher and I see myself surrounded by a small group of highly capable and motivated students. On the other hand, students and staff are very supportive. Therefore, my way of handling pressure is to talk about it to others within the program. Mostly it is enough to hear that we ‘are all in the same boat’ and sometimes talking helps to find new ways to alleviate pressure.

Why do you think it is important to study what you study?

My focus is on work psychology and sHRM. The topics of Individual Differences and Assessment are very relevant to the work environment. We spend much time at work and it plays an important role in our lives. Therefore, we need to make sure that people get to fitting jobs and are allowed to be their best throughout their personal and professional development. This will benefit the wellbeing of individuals as well as the performance of organizations.

What motivates you to keep studying?

Mainly: study itself. I enjoy thinking about how I could apply new knowledge, or trying to find links between topics that were not studied before. Of course not every topic resonates with me. In those cases, I take a similar approach as I would take at work: sometimes things just ‘need to get done’ to be able to move on.

How are you experiencing the relationship with your teachers?

I think the contact with the IDA staff and teachers is one of the unique selling points of the program. There is much room for discussion. Feedback is personal and elaborate. When writing papers, we can choose from a wide range of topics to work on and are entrusted to coordinate and plan ourselves. I get a strong sense of ‘working together’ with the teachers, supervisors, and staff. This triggers me to take ownership of my studies. It is not just a program I follow, instead I actively shape it together with the IDA team.

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