Throughout my childhood, I was sensitive to injustices happening around the world. I am Syrian so my teen years were filled with worries for my extended family. I was raised in a family where it was common to discuss injustices happening in Palestine, Libya, Sudan, and Iraq. This all created a sense of hopelessness; my young self could not see a path to stop these wrongs.
In 2015, a biographical movie was released called “The Man who knew Infinity” based on the life of Srinivasa Ramanujan, a mathematician who made significant contributions in the field of mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions. He completed his PhD during WWI in Cambridge (a period of severe rationing and even bombardment) and personal health issues (including TB to which he succumbed in 1920 at the age of 32), while staying in England away from family in India.
The semester is about to end and like in any formal educational environment it is time to assess the students. Anxiety is what you usually feel in the air in this period, although as a distant learner, you feel it more through the digital airwaves in the form of a Whatsapp group.
Whether this is your first time applying or if you’re a seasoned veteran – applying for a summer or year long placement can be very daunting. From stressing out about those ‘scary’ interviews to frantically deciding on the specific internship. Hopefully, these pointers will show that with determination and hard work you too can land the placement of a life time!Continue reading
The plane lands, and I am beyond terrified.
Welcome to Berlin. In the arrivals zone stands a tall man kitted in cargo shorts and gripping a crumpled sign announcing ‘CityTravelReview’.
This is not where my adventure begins. Eight months ago, an email landed in my already-overflowing university inbox. For a month, said email sat gathering virtual dust as I scrolled past countless times. On a particularly slow day in Western Bank Library, I decided to open this message as a ‘productive’ break from my own work.
It’s 7pm and I’m in the office for PhD students, exhausted after a long day of writing reports, experiments over-running and a fresh truckload of email admin. Tomorrow will be more of the same so I decide to call it a day. Gathering my belongings, I slink to the door, avoiding the gaze of the other students still working away. I ask myself “When did it become normal to feel guilty at leaving the office so late?!”Continue reading
It is coming around to the half way mark of the PhD academic year, which means for some final year PhD students, it is only 6 months to go until the end of their degree.
Now this can be a scary thought for some, or a relief for others, but it is seen by many as potentially the most stressful part of the 3 or 4 years of a PhD. You have to complete a thesis (basically writing a book), potentially write a paper or two, all whilst trying to figure out what you want to do once you have finished. And for those who know what job they want, it is just a case of finding someone who will pay you to do said job!
It’s that time of the year again. Chocolate Santas and gingerbread men have taken over the supermarkets and a never-ending playlist of Christmas songs encourages you to buy some more mince pies than you really need. Christmas has always been my favourite holiday, I’m one of those annoying people who starts singing Christmas songs in mid-summer, but being a university student can affect your Christmas spirit quite a bit. Between essay deadlines and exam revision, Christmas can actually come as a real surprise. Suddenly, the holidays are there, you find yourself sitting beneath a marvellously decorated tree, thinking about your upcoming exams, and being more of a Grinch than one of Santa’s joyful elfs. I’m in my fifth year of university and have spent Christmas time in three different countries during that period. Over the years, I’ve developed my own strategy to make Christmas season away from home a cheerful experience and I thought I’d share some of it with you guys.
I came to Sheffield from Malaysia in 2012 as an international student, studying LLB Law. I completed my undergraduate degree in 2015. I then decided after three years of employment (also here in Sheffield), that Sheffield is the city I would like to do my Masters too (that proves to you how much I love Sheffield!) In comparison to most international postgraduate students who only just started their first year in Sheffield, I’m in a better position as I have already known the city inside-out as well as university life.
A lot of international postgraduate students found it difficult to make the most out of their time at university as postgraduate course could be really intense, and usually by the time they start to get a grip on everything, it’s time for them to say goodbye. So as someone who has been here long enough, here are my top 5 tips to make the most out of your time at university:
Doing a PhD has been one of the best experiences of my life, and not only because of my research (Design of Soft Robotic Implants for Tissue Regeneration. Amazing, huh?). It is because the whole experience involves meeting new people, going new places and learning many different things. It took me one year to finally decide to start this new endeavour. What helped me to take the final decision? The support of my family and friends. Now that you have taken the decision of starting this new life project, I want to be that friend for you and let you know my top three tips for when you come to study your PhD at The University of Sheffield.