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Meet Marie Thollet, gap-year student

Written on 20 May 2020.



Marie Thollet

“ Post-Covid 19 will not be that different from pre-Covid 19

Marie is doing her gap year on EDHEC’s MiM programme (Business Management option). Currently on an internship in Montreal with a leading French tourism group, she tells us about her experience of working from home in the midst of the crisis.  

Can you describe your internship in confinement mode?

I started my internship in trade marketing in early January and my experience quickly changed to managing the crisis. For the last few weeks, I’ve been assisting tourists who’ve had to cancel their bookings, while also managing relations with travel agencies that are often in great difficulty. I work from home from 9.00am to 5.00pm and I admit that the thing that de-stabilises me most is having to work alone, in front of my computer, with colleagues who I only worked with for two months! Apart from that, my working life is punctuated by video-conferences and virtual meetings. When you’re not onsite, it’s hard to be sure whether information circulates.   

What are your good practices to keep a well-balanced day-to-day life?  

I try to separate my professional time from my personal time, because the danger with teleworking is that you never stop. It’s vital to set aside rest periods and moments of distraction. I also strive to keep a precise routine. I’ve built myself a real framework including rituals and fixed hours. I also try to maintain a healthy life. At the start of confinement, I wasn’t feeding myself well and was eating anything that came to hand. But now, I do my shopping, cook and force myself to eat healthily! It’s important to fill your time well during confinement: every day at 5.00pm, I take a fitness class online. In Montreal, I share an apartment with six other people. We organise “housework evenings”: you might laugh at this, but it’s vital when you spend all your days together in the same apartment!  Each week I take part in “team aperitifs” with my company… I take the time to talk with my family and I also do sport on Skype with my boyfriend back in France! All these little moments together are helping me to negotiate this period while keeping a well-balanced life.

What are your best ways to escape from the crisis?

Before the crisis, I used to go to the cinema a lot, but I’ve now converted myself to the big screen at home. I watch lots of films, whether classics on Arte or films that I stream on Netflix. I love all the Ghibli productions you can get on Netflix. Another of my passions, botanical books, came to me in a surprising way. I devour books in PDF form on medicinal plants or vegetable growing. I put this sudden craze down to the effects of confinement and my need for wide open spaces, which is being frustrated at the moment! 

Do you think the post-Covid 19 world will be different?

Returning to normal risks being a long process for small firms in the tourism industry. I don’t think people will want to travel as far at first and expect this to make it hard for a lot of companies to bounce back. Generally, I’m not sure that post-confinement will be fundamentally much different from pre-confinement. My feeling is that people have short memories and will want to resume their habits and catch up for lost time. There will probably be some marginal changes, a bit more vigilance, but it will take more for the crisis to trigger a revolution in our ways of life! 

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