There's a tradition in my country, Brazil, that at every end of year we do what we call a "retrospective". Everyone does it, on TV, schools, university courses, bloggers, anyone. Because back home the school year aligns with the calendar year, the holiday season is is tbe perfect time to look back to the year that has passed and look forward to our goals for the year that's coming. So today, I'd like to to do the same and reflect as I finish my first term as a Student Ambassador and my third term as a PhD student at OISE. I invite you to do the same.
This has not been an easy year for any of us, but there were a few gems worthy of celebration.
For starters, on February 21st, I presented for the first time in English about my research topic. It was the Joseph P. Farrell Student Research Symposium, organized by CIDEC, where graduate students in Comparative, International and Development Education are able to share their research in a student-friendly environment. I remember how nervous I was about presenting on zoom and in English, but, as usual for us grad students, it was just the jitters and I really enjoyed my presentation. The feedback I received afterwards was really good too. If you have the opportunity to participate in the Farrell Symposium 2022, or in the OISE Graduate Student Research Conference 2022, do it! Both are great student-friendly spaces to get some feedback on your work and practice for larger seminars.
The second academic milestone that marked my 2021 was getting the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS). In my home country where I did my Master degree, funding is so, so different, that I have to say I kind of panicked when I heard I had to apply for external funding as a fulltime PhD student with a base funding package. I honestly thought, before coming, that my funding was a no-brainer, and when I found out (in 2020) that I had to apply for SSHRC, OGS and/or Vanier, I totally freaked out, especially because the SSHRC deadline is super early. So as I was on my first term during the 2020 SSHRC deadline, I didn't even try and decided to focus on the OGS instead, even though it is 5k less than the SSHRC annually. I honestly did not think I was going to get it, but I did! And so did my full-time PhD friends. Needless to say, we were all extremely happy and relieved! I'm currently waiting on the decision on my SSHRC application, and I have to say to all of you who are in research-based programs, do try SSHRC, even if you don't think you have a good chance. Both SSHRC and OGS have been great exercises in summarizing my research interest and what I wish my thesis to be about.
The third thing that marked my year is precisely this space and the OISE Voices Instagram. I applied for a work-study position (will talk more about that soon!) as a student ambassador and started working as such late September. I applied because I was feeling isolated and a bit lonely with all the virtual world and I thought this would be a great way to know people and help them. I was not wrong, you all are amazing! But, it was also so much more than that. Having the #oisevoices Instagram has taught me a few very much needed 21st century skills and it has been a great space for showcasing a bit of our life at OISE and who we are. I really hope you have enjoyed the journey together thus far, and I promise more will come soon! Also, if you haven't yet reached out, send a DM, a comment, an email, anything, I'd love to connect with future and current students!
Lastly, I'm just absolutely grateful to have had, even virtually, such a heartwarming space at OISE. Being away from family, surviving a pandemic, doing a PhD, keeping my health in check, none of that was easy. But it was a lot easier because I had you all; those of you who came to the OISE Open House, those who sent DMs and encouraging comments, all my new friends from the Latin America Study Group, my Peacebuilders friends (as my supervisor calls those interested in Peace Education), and my great peers at work and in school. I honestly cannot wait to live a normal, in-person life with all of these amazing people!
My first 2022 goal is finishing my comprehensive exams! Especially because once I finish and pass it, I'll finally be able to write a post about it telling everyone not to panic lol. I'm 3/4s done at least! Then, I hope to, as a PhD Candidate, turn in my thesis proposal, form my thesis committee and pass my Ethics revision. After all that is done, the best part of a PhD starts: gathering data. In my case, hopefully with COVID over, I will be able to go in the field and do my ethnographic work in person! If not, zoom it is!
The other academic goal I have is to get the SSHRC scholarship. As I mentioned, it is a bit more than the OGS and it is also multi-year, so I wouldn't have to keep applying every year as I do with the OGS. But if not, then I hope I get the OGS again!
Last, I hope this work as a student ambassador continues to connect us all during these virtual times. I hope every future student I've met so far gets their admission offers in March. I hope we can all start in-person for the Fall 2022 school year and that I can be there to welcome you all!
That's it! That's a wrap on 2021 folks! I hope you can all use this time to rest and recharge. If you can join family or friends, I hope you enjoy them as much as possible. If not, I hope you can find peace and happiness with yourself too! And let's ALL hope for a much, much better 2022!