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Advice for new graduate students from Juliana Vidal: 'Learn how to learn'

Student Life

Fall Welcome: From BAs to PhDs, the Gazette is handing over the editorial reins to a group of undergraduate and graduate students to offer new students a friendly “Hello!” – and to share some of their top tips for getting the most out of their Memorial experience. Stay tuned for more student-submitted messages during the first few weeks of the semester!

Meet Juliana Vidal

Welcome, new graduate students! I am in the third year of my PhD studies in chemistry at Memorial.

In 2017, I left my hometown of Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais, Brazil to study abroad, and I can still feel all the butterflies, moths, and everything else in my stomach when my first semester at Memorial University started.

There is no doubt 2020 has been a very strange (to say the least) year and that you are starting your graduate studies under very different circumstances.

However, your greatest adventure has just begun!

‘Get out of your comfort zone’

The way I see it, graduate studies is a learning process. You learn how to try, how to fall, how to stand up, how to try again and how to learn.

If I could give you only one piece of advice on your journey, I would highlight the importance of taking advantage of this learning process and getting out of your comfort zone.

“You will be afraid to mess up (and you probably will mess up) but the more you do it, the easier it gets.”

During this new adventure, you will encounter challenging situations and amazing opportunities that might require you to think or act differently than you are used to.

I know it is scary. You will be afraid to mess up (and you probably will mess up) but the more you do it, the easier it gets. When you see it, you will be doing this and so much more!

Keep driving forward

In my opinion, the change that happens in graduate school is very natural and gradual.

There is so much going on, so many things to do and to think . . . It might even take you some time to notice how much you have grown, but when you see it, it is already too late.

You are now a completely different person, and your resilience, adaptability, and courage will continue to keep driving you forward.

So, get out of your comfort zone, try new things, and do not be afraid to mess up. Graduate school should be faced as this huge and amazing learning process, where the most important result is the person you become.

Welcome to your new adventure at Memorial University. Enjoy every second of it!

Up next: Pajani Soobrayen, an international bachelor of arts (political science and French) student from Mauritius. Watch for Pajani’s submission on Thursday, Sept. 10.


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