I am an international student from Nigeria, and chose to apply to graduate studies at University of Waterloo because of my quest for innovation. My arrival at Waterloo came with mixed feelings: the joy of starting graduate studies and the sorrow of leaving my friends behind. But, I found a way out.
At first, it was difficult for me to connect with other graduate students in my department because most of us come to school a few minutes before the start of a class and leave immediately after the class, with little time for interaction. When I started attending workshops and events organized by GRADventure for graduate students, I noticed that many of these workshops have breaks incorporated into the event schedule. These workshop breaks gave me the opportunity to network with fellow graduate students, not just from my department or faculty, but from across all faculties at Waterloo.
When I received an invitation from GRADventure to register for the LaTeX workshop, I decided to register because of these networking opportunities that GRADventure workshops usually provide. However, I found that in addition to networking with other gradate students I received two other great benefits from attending the LaTeX workshop:
1. I learned a new skill:
Have you heard of LaTeX before? It is a document preparation software for technical writing, or creating any other written documents. Attending the workshop made me realize that LaTeX writing skills can help me write faster and better, with ease of editing and restructuring my written piece. These skills are often needed in graduate school when writing assignments, a thesis or a CV / resume. I didn’t know I could accomplish so much with LaTeX until I attended this workshop.
2. I learned about a new opportunity:
The world is a better place when we do not concentrate only on what we can gain, but constantly seek out ways to contribute. When I saw the great events hosted by GRADventure, it was obvious that some people are working hard behind the scenes to help graduate students develop their professional skills. When I met Sarah Howard from GRADventure at the LaTeX workshop and told her about my interest in volunteering for GRADventure I found out about blog writing opportunities and the outcome is this blog that you have been reading. Together we can build a stronger graduate community when we find opportunities to get involved.
Watch out for the next GRADventure email invitation for a workshop or event. Register for it and invite other graduate students to come with you. I hope to meet you at the next GRADventure event where we can both learn new skills and find new opportunities.
Linda Iheme (Dr) is a MSc. Student in Public Health and Health Systems, researching the oral health problems of older adults in home-care settings.