Surviving another week

by Jason Bosch

Every university student has uttered the phrase “I just have to survive this week” multiple times to themselves, but in my honours year, the phrase took on a whole new meaning. Though your honours year may be rewarding and exciting, your undergrad does not prepare for the fast-paced and content heavy journey that lies ahead. This compounded with a global pandemic can cause everything to get very real, very quickly.

During my techniques module for honours, I found myself questioning whether I was deserving of my spot and that I couldn’t keep up with the pace of the content. I felt like I was missing the foundation I needed to understand what was happening. Regardless, I tried my best to keep up with my peers. I worked so hard to get here and I was so focused on trying to be the best, I wasn’t fully appreciating where I was. I worked so hard in my undergrad program to get where I am today and never took the time to appreciate where my efforts lead me. At the end of my techniques module, I realized that although I was overwhelmed with trying to keep up, I enjoyed the content and that I wasn’t alone in struggling with the adjustment from undergrad to honours.

More recently, I’ve been contemplating whether to continue with studies next year, either by coursework or by research. The process of applying to universities and funding for masters can be daunting and time consuming. I had no idea of what is required for a master’s application or what possible funding opportunities that were available to me. During applications, I always find myself comparing my achievements to my peers, wondering if I’m good enough or if I’ve done enough. This sense of imposter syndrome takes over and I wonder if it’s even worth it. I was hesitant at first to reach out for help but in the end, with a little guidance and perspective from some staff and senior post graduate students, the process of apply for masters seemed easier.

Overall, my honours year has been a major adjustment from undergrad to postgrad. I’ve had to change the way I approached my work and how I learn. Throughout my year, one recurring theme arose, and that was that science is interdisciplinary. Science is not one dimensional, it is multifaceted and there is always more than one way to approach a situation. Often, the best results are obtained when there are collaborative efforts across the different fields of science. This theme helped me to realize that when I struggle it’s okay to ask for help and get different perspectives. My honours year has also taught me to be more appreciative of present and not just be one-track minded on the future. Having a little help really does make a week more bearable.

2 comments

  • Thanks for sharing. I must say, even for us your lecturers, this new normal is taking us time to adjust. One aspect from which you as students are missing is learning by just being in the presence of others doing certain experiments. We now have to ask that only one or two be in the lab at the same time and this curtails a lot of lateral learning in the experimental sciences. on our side as your teachers we are always wondering if we are doign enough to produce the product that we aim to produce. All the best Jason

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    • larapaul0995gmailcom

      Thanks for sharing your point of view! I agree with what you are saying. Being present is something that is hard in these times but is absolutely necessary. It also is a very good skill to learn. Thank you for all your time and effort you put in your lectures!

      Like

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