First of all, we are very happy to have you here Lotte! In the first part of our interview we want to get to know more about your academic transformation.
As a little starter: what were your favorite subjects in high school?
Mathematics and Physics
Is that what drove you to choose econometrics? Could you give us a little insight into studying this program?
I have to be honest. Everyone around me told me “if you are good at mathematics you should study econometrics because you are gonna be a millionaire!” I really liked the application of econometrics. It has a heavy focus on mathematics but also the application to economics. I really like the view of optimizing the world with mathematics.
Could you give the audience an insight in how you made the transformation from being a “sixer student” to being a motivated and successful student? What helped you in the process of the transformation?
For sure! It was kind of because I was bored in class and my marks were not high as well. So I asked myself “okay, what if I study a bit and see where it will take me”.
“I had the idea that maybe it would be fun to get cum laude.”
So I thought “Let's give it a try!” I started doing my best and all of the sudden my marks blew up in the sky. I continued doing that because I think it is very addictive to get good grades.
Thank you. This transformation is very impressive. Could you tell the audience that maybe also wants to take on this kind of transformation in their academic life about the habits that you developed in that time?
I think it is really a cumulation of a lot of habits, that is why I also wrote a whole book about it.
“The biggest difference though is that I keep up with my work now.”
I really do my homework and I follow the lectures. Therefore there are no cramming sessions before the exams anymore. Also, I am a bit more motivated. I really want to get high marks, so I put in the work. I go sit in the university library at 8:30 because I want to and not because I think I have to.
So would you say that consistency is the most important step and rather doing everyday a little bit than, like you mentioned, pulling cramming sessions before the exam?
Yeah, and in some of my exam weeks I also have not been the best exam. But then I get reminded that consistency is really the key.
So it is really a constant learning curve even for you. Where did you find the study techniques? Did you have hard times finding valuable techniques?
I was really struggling to find some, especially in Dutch. There really was no creator online that published study tips. It was only “write a summary or make a study plan”, which I already knew. But then I found “study tube” which is a youtube community of studying people that share their tips. I really enjoyed them back in high school. But there was not much more than that online. That is why I started creating content on TikTok.
Could you give us and the audience an insight when this was and what drove your motivation to start putting your content online?
This was two years ago. So the first year of econometrics went really well. In the second year we were all back on campus after the pandemic and I started studying with my friends a lot. I was also taking one course called “Rhetorics” which really encouraged students to put themselves out in the world and make an impact. So I thought “how can I do it myself”? I saw one of my best friends working with a lot of chaos and I told her “you can do it better! I have some good tips for you”. As I already was telling her the tips I may also make a little video about that and publish it. That is how it started.
What are the main topics that you tackle on your TikTok account?
So this was kind of a Transformation because at the beginning I was really focused on study tips and making people more motivated. Now I have transitioned more about giving insight into student life and explaining more about what it means to be a student, as I see a lot of questions coming in about this. I have established a good balance between study tips and showcasing student life.
Where would you say lies the success in your account and how do you retain your followers?
I think the success lies in the beginning. Because I was the first creator to publish these tips in Dutch. My account grew very rapidly because tiktok really rewards when creators bring something new to the platform. Now the growing curve has become a bit flatter. I am always making sure to respond to what my audience wants to see and my content is still very unique. That is why the audience stays or always comes back.
Have you actually seen an increase in similar accounts to yours’?
Yes there are a lot of copycats. First I had a lot of difficulties with it. There was also one account that tried to make it seem that I copied it. And people started writing me messages about it. I encouraged this account to try making some unique content, because that is what has worked for me. Now I rather see it as a compliment. I started making these videos because I needed them. They started making these videos because they needed them. And you see that a lot of people or accounts don't keep up with it. So they try it but after some time they lose inspiration. I, conversely put a lot of time in it and keep up with it.
Yeah, so for the other accounts there is kind of missing the intrinsic motivation that you bring in. On the other hand, like you acknowledged, you are inspiring other people with your content.
Would you consider expanding your social media presence?
I am already on instagram, which I really like because I like the concept of stories. For youtube, I can publish them as shorts but it is really administrative to publish all the tiktoks on youtube as well. I don't feel like doing this. Especially I really like the fast paced nature of tiktok and instagram. For youtube I would have to have a setting, script, eccetera.
A quick question at this point. Do you run your entire social media platform by yourself?
Yes, I do not have people filming me. I do it all on my own, which is kind of a struggle sometimes but also really fun. I decide it all by myself.
Back to your social media presence. So would you say that your target audience appreciates the fast paced nature of your account more than longer videos?
Yeah because when they are too impatient to follow a lecture they will also be so when watching a longer video.
Let us have a closer look at your book and your board year at Kraket. What initially inspired you to pursue a board year as the chairwomen and in what way did this experience inspire your work on social media and your book?
Well, regarding my motivation for the board year, I really had the feeling that student life was flashing by before my eyes. I was already done with the second year of my bachelors and I started my studies during covid. So I thought about doing a gap year but I really wanted to stay at university and in my student room.
“I wanted to also give something back to Kraket, as Kraket has given me a lot.”
So I decided to devote this one year of my life to Kraket. How has this experience influenced my social media? It was really difficult. At first I thought that now I would have more time for tiktoks. But this was not true. I was in uni the whole day and then in the evening at events. I was not studying anymore and thus could not film myself studying. I was not keeping up with my audience anymore because I was not going through the same things as them. But on the other hand it was also a big blessing. Because when the opportunity for writing a book came in I was really happy that this did not collide with my thesis. It was really intensive writing in April and May, so I think I could have not written a book during my thesis. A board year left me some space for that, so that was really nice.
Your book, “Nooit meer een onvoldoende”, has been published by Kosmos Uitgevers. What inspired you to write this book?
They emailed me. I wasn't like, 'Here is my pitch for a book.' I had always dreamed of becoming an author, and they were offering me the opportunity—I was intensely grateful. When I went to their office to discuss potential projects, we were completely on the same page. That was the moment when I thought, 'Okay, I could bring all my ideas to life in the book.' They pitched it to the Kosmos team, and they were already enthusiastic. It was like having a lot of inspiring people around me who shared the same ideas. And then, yes, we made it happen.
How does writing your book differ from creating content on TikTok?
It was quite different because my research was much more extensive. When creating content on TikTok, I would think, 'Okay, this worked for me, so I'll make a fun video about it or showcase my life.' However, when writing a book about study methods and concentration, you have to be a bit more factual; you can't solely rely on your own opinion. So, I delved into a lot of research on the web while infusing it with my unique tone of voice. It was genuinely enjoyable because I had the opportunity to explain things in more detail, without the constraint of a 30-second time limit. Now, I find myself really typing it out.
Was everything you wrote in the book already in your archive, or did you discover new study tips along the way?
No, I haven't included anything that I haven't tried myself. However, there were some things that I had heard of and thought, 'Okay, I have to research this more.' Still, there's nothing in there that I wouldn't do myself.
Can you tell us more about the book’s contents and who it’s intended for?
Yes, it is meant for anyone attending high school, university, or anything similar. The book is written with an open approach. I occasionally provide examples related to high school tasks, such as geography homework, but I also explore how the tips can be applicable to subjects like statistics. It's designed to be as broad as possible.
In your book, you advise parents not to be overly involved in their children's schoolwork and to avoid doing their homework. How do you see the role of parents in a student's education, and what advice would you give to parents in supporting their children's learning?
I get a lot of these questions from the media as well, actually. I think you should intrinsically motivate students because while extrinsic motivation is also good, it's not really sustainable; it's not there for the long term. When students are intrinsically motivated, they want to get to work. Many students have the issue that when they're told to do something, they automatically don't want to do it because they dislike authority. They're in that young and rebellious phase. So, when you go around saying things like, 'You have to do this; you have to complete your homework,' I know that's not the right way because students will automatically be like, 'No, now I'm not going to do it anymore.' So, what I'm really trying with my TikTok account is showing that it could be fun. When you approach it this way, you can really enjoy doing your schoolwork, and getting high marks is a lot of fun. But when your parents are on top of you, it doesn't stay fun. Like, I wouldn't want to do it if my mother told me to study a bit harder as well. No, thank you.
What's next for you in your journey to help students excel academically? Are there any future projects or initiatives you're working on?
It's a really hard question for me because I feel like with a book, I've peaked, and I'm at a crossroads. Right now, I'm having difficulty deciding on the next step, but I am speaking at the high school I attended next week. So, maybe new opportunities lie there, but I don't know yet.
Have you ever considered going into teaching or doing a PHD?
No, I'm not going to do a PhD. However, I really like the field of econometrics, and social media is always going to be my side hustle, not my full-time pursuit.
Would you be interested in making an international version of "Nooit meer een onvoldoende"?
Yeah, well, that wouldn't be my job; my publicist would handle that. They are welcome to translate it if they want to, they could.
Could you tell me how you would spend a perfect free day?
I'd wake up with no alarm, and then I'd be at home. So, I'm going to drink cappuccino with coconut milk with my mother and read the newspaper or watch some TV. After that, we'll go to the woods as a family with my dog, come home, and then I'll drive into Zeist to meet up with some friends for lunch. Later, I'll go back home and then visit my grandma for tea. After that, I'll head home again and go out for dinner with my whole family. Finally, we're going to see a musical.
Have you given any thought to what you want to do career-wise?
Yes, I have a clear vision for my career.
Now, I don't have a clear vision yet because I have some opportunities lined up. However, I really like to pursue data science and AI, and maybe even in the airline industry.
If you had any, who was your role model that gave you the motivation to create your TikTok?
I think the fact that I didn't have a role model contributed a lot because there was no one. On the other hand, I really got a lot of support from my friend Lisanne, and my fellow students from my year were really supportive too; they gave me a lot of ideas. So, that was great.
How do you deal with privacy on a daily basis with your face being online, and most students knowing who you are?
Well, my privacy doesn't concern me that much because I have nothing to hide. On the other hand, sometimes it's challenging when I'm not having a good day at all, and I'm in public getting recognized. I might feel really ugly, wearing a cap, not feeling like myself, and then I get recognized. I have to put on a smile because otherwise, they might think I'm arrogant, you know?
Thank you so much for being here Lotte