Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
I have always been very inquisitive. I simply must know how things work, and when I cannot find an existing answer somewhere I feel compelled to figure it out myself. The quest for knowledge is what drives my pursuit of a graduate degree. I also love helping others to gain the knowledge and skills to answer questions themselves. Part of my reason for pursuing a graduate degree is that I am able to hone my instructional skills.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
It is hard to turn down an opportunity to live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world! It is also hard to turn down an opportunity to study at one of the best universities in the world! The international reputation of UBC is excellent, and I was happy to be welcomed into this academic environment.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
I am fascinated by the brain and cognition. The mysteries that remain locked in that three pound organ are many, which allows many different routes of investigation. I am also very curious about the universe and its functions. In my program I am able to fulfill my academic desire to better understand human behaviour and our interactions with the world.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
How friendly and supportive my program has been. I find that there is really good support amongst peers here.
What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?
I find that seeing growth in myself is enjoyable. When I'm given new responsibilities, especially instructional ones, I feel like I'm moving in the right direction. I look forward to seeing how my career develops.
What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?
Finding stable employment. I know so many exceptional students, and we're all working very hard to get where we want to go. Unfortunately, the industry is small and some of us will have to find work outside of academia.
How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?
Beyond helping us to become experts in our field, we are being taught the skills to become adaptable. That goes a long way towards helping us prosper.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
I went to college and studied computer networks years ago and then decided to make a change after working in that industry for a number of years. I feel that having had a chance to work in the real world before taking on a graduate program helped put things in perspective. That doesn't mean that everyone needs to take time off before taking on a graduate degree, but realizing that life needs more balance than just studying all the time, has been a huge asset.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
Tending to my balcony garden, reading something for fun (not related to my work!), or sampling some local craft brew.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Graduate programs, especially when starting out, can quickly seem like an insurmountable challenge. Pacing yourself, excepting failures, adapting, asking questions, and taking downtime are all things that are necessary for success. Taking advantage of the available support resources is also really helpful.