Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
I have always wanted to get a master's degree. Having a grad degree provides more opportunities for work after studying. I also wanted to learn more and improve and develop existing and new skills. Studying further is a great way to do that.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
UBC is a well known and good school and one of the few that offered a degree program I was interested in. It is also conveniently located in Vancouver where I had visited and have some family so it made moving from South Africa easier. I was looking for a program in another country to challenge myself and have new experiences. My program at UBC is funded which was also an encouragement. All of these reasons made it a good choice.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
My interests are in atmospheric science and data science and the program gives me an opportunity to combine those two interests. I liked that the team I joined works with data and modelling in a variety of areas related to atmospheric science. The program initially attracted me because I would be able to develop the skill set I was hoping to and learn more about an area of research that interests me.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
It doesn't always rain for the whole of November! Haha - I was told that November (my birthday month) is the worst month and that previously it had rained for 29 out of 30 days that month, or something like that. But while I've been here that hasn't always been the case. I've been lucky in fall and winter to get some beautiful sunny days. And the sunsets are incredible too!
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
Having work experience has been helpful. Doing my degree feels a bit like a job and it's been helpful to have worked and know what it's like to work a full 9-5 day. Treating the program like a job also helps to stay on track and make progress in my work. Having travelled to Vancouver before helped, even just for holiday, because I was familiar with the city so it wasn't all completely new.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
I'd suggest you get all your courses done in the first year of your degree if possible. It means that you'll be able to spend dedicated time the whole of the following year on your research which will hopefully enable you to finish up your degree in good time. But other than that, if it takes you longer than expected, don't be too hard on yourself. You're still learning and getting experience.