Irene Overtoom, originally from the Netherlands, is a Civil Engineering student working towards her masters at TU Delft. During her spare time, Irene enjoys playing volleyball, skiing and traveling. Some of her most recent trips have been to Cuba, Peru and Myanmar.
Read more to learn all about the social initiatives Irene is working on along with what inspires her each day.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I’m working with a group of 5 master students from my faculty on a project about water supply in a rapidly developing area in Yangon, Myanmar.
Is there one book that has shaped your life or changed the way you think?
“Kan niet waar zijn” by Joris Luyendijk. It’s about the private banking world in London. It made me realize that if everyone acted as selfish as the people in that book, this whole world would go to ruins. And that it’s so much more rewarding to do something in your life with which you can make an impact on the world than with which you earn a lot of money.
What’s your favourite quote?
“If you never take the shot, it’s always miss” – Johan Cruyff
How do you start off your day — aka what’s your morning routine?
First I snooze until I start feeling that I’m hungry, then I have breakfast with the news on, shower, get dressed and leave. Very simple routine you would think, but it takes me an absurdly long time.
What is something you think everyone should try at least once in their life?
Travel by yourself
What is one skill or hobby you’ve been meaning to learn but haven’t had time for?
Programming in Python
List 3 simple things in life that make you really happy:
1. Making a baby smile
2. Sunny days
Name someone that has made an impact in your life and why?
My grandma, because she taught me that no matter how much you have, being happy in life is all in the small things and the people you surround yourself with.
What is the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done?
This project in Myanmar was very rewarding because people were so genuinely happy that we showed interest in their problems and wanted to help solve them.
What is your favorite coworking space and why?
Phandeeyar, Yangon. Yangon is a big, smelly city with very little good internet available, which we really needed for our project. Phandeeyar is this oasis of young, inspiring people, a fresh environment with good internet and a ping pong table.
When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?
Checking their use of the English language, or knowing where the best party in town is.
What is the biggest item on your bucket list at the moment?
Just ticked off Southeast Asia. I think my next one is South Africa.
How do you maintain a sense of work-life balance?
Work hard so I can go home in time to do sports and see my friends. It’s all about acknowledging for yourself when you have done enough and finished a task. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
Name one skill you think everyone should have or learn?
Talk in front of a group. If you can do this well, it really helps making an impact on people and getting them on board.
What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?
Decided to stop my bachelor in Communications and move to Delft to study Engineering. Never regretted it a day in my life.
Tell us about your first job? Has it shaped where you are today?
Delivering folders to people’s houses. I’m afraid that hasn’t really made an impact on my life.
Do you have a favorite part about coworking?
There’s a motivating atmosphere because everyone’s working hard on their project, but it’s also easy to relax and blow off steam by talking to people.