Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
I have known from a young age that I wanted to pursue a PhD. That said, I didn't exactly take the direct route. After completing my bachelor's degree in Psychology at McGill University, I decided to take a year off to travel. One year turned into two as I visited parts of Southeast Asia and most of Central America. I always knew that I wanted to return to graduate school but I couldn't settle on a program. I was torn between deciding to pursue an applied degree or going into something more research-focused. I ended up beginning my time at UBC in a more applied program and quickly realized my love for research and decided to pursue my PhD.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
I decided to study at UBC because it is an internationally recognized university with top tier faculty and leading researchers... not to mention it's incredible West Coast location!
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
I was drawn to my doctoral program for its wide scope and flexibility. I was looking for an opportunity to study contextual factors influencing human development within a somewhat interdisciplinary lens. The Human Development, Learning, and Culture program allows for just that. As someone who is passionate about research, I was also excited about the opportunity to pursue a sub-specialization in the department's world-renowned Measurement, Evaluation, and Research Methodology program.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
The beaches! I was originally drawn to UBC and Vancouver for its proximity to the mountains. However, I have since also fallen in love with the beaches and easy access to the ocean.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
Thinking back, I would say that my preparation for graduate school began when I was in high school. I attended a French private school in Quebec where we were at school from 8am to 4pm every day. During this time, we had scheduled study periods where we were given the opportunity to do our homework and assignments. It was here that I learned self-discipline and developed a strong work ethic. I would always complete my school work at school, which left my out-of-school time for activities and hanging out with friends. I have carried this work ethic with me to this day and I believe it is an important factor contributing to my ongoing success as a graduate student. Specifically, I plan my workdays to mimic a 9-5 schedule and do my best to prioritize downtime for doing the non-academic things that I enjoy (e.g., skiing, hiking, camping, dancing).
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Take it one day at a time! Try to enjoy where you're at and not to think too far ahead. Simply work hard and follow your interests, the rest will sort itself out.