Rachel Vivian Helmer
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
To me, gaining knowledge and learning how to critically think have always been more important than success or wealth. Therefore, I decided I would like to study and continue being educated for as long as possible.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
UBC is one of the most well-respected universities in Canada and the research/collaboration options here are amazing! The professors in my department were recommended to me as potential supervisors when I was an undergraduate participating in the Canadian Summer School in Germany. I have not been disappointed!
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
My program allows graduate students to pursue their own individual interests. For example, I have been using my knowledge of German to research German-language literature. My colleagues also treat me as a human being, as opposed to a robot expected to perform no matter what the cost, and that is very refreshing.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
The fact that I can see the mountains and ocean from my window still blows me away every morning.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
Living in Germany for so long allowed me to learn German while teaching English, and I think the experience I gained there prepared me for grad school the most.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Surround yourself with a few mentors in the department who will guide you, and ask what the specific expectations are for your program (ex. timeline). Then make a schedule/research plan.