Are you interested in applying to THINK Global School but aren’t quite sure if it’s right for you? That’s OK! It’s a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. To help you in your application process, we’ve put together a list of five things we feel every applicant to THINK Global School should know. We hope you find them helpful. 1) You’ll gain an education by living and learning in the...Read More
Hi Paula, can you tell us what you’ve been up to since graduating in 2018?
Right after graduation, I took a short backpacking trip around Europe. I knew I would start university in September and wanted to squeeze in one last travel adventure. It was interesting to experience the transition from “school travelling,” where things were usually planned for us and safety was a priority, to “solo travelling,” where nobody really knew where I was for most of the day – of course, safety was a still a priority for me!
I am delighted I had the chance to put into practice and test all the tools TGS gave me when it comes to arriving in a new city, experiencing the local culture, and having fun. After that trip, I started my bachelor’s in “medicinal chemistry and biochemistry” at Jacobs University Bremen in Germany.
After completing my bachelor’s degree in 2021, I moved to Switzerland, where I am pursuing a master’s degree in chemistry at ETH Zürich. Now that I am in my final semester, I have chosen to journey to England and conduct research for my thesis at the Inorganic Chemistry Department of the University of Oxford.
What has been the most gratifying project you’ve worked on since graduation?
I am not sure I have a specific project, but working in different laboratories during my studies has been a completely different experience from the one I grew accustomed to at TGS. Working in a lab is like an 8 to 5 job, with little moving around or talking to people. Some days are just long hours standing in front of your column, hoping to purify your product or staring at your round-bottom flask, praying that the reaction worked!
There is also a lot of pre-planning before the lab day starts that allows you to play around with your hypothesis and set up experiments that will enable you to get results – and of course, discussions during lunch breaks about how to improve your experiment. When I started conducting research, I was convinced I would get “yes or no” answers, which is not what most of our experiences in TGS provided us with- well, I wasn’t wrong, but also, I wasn’t entirely right.
My best experiments have come from mistakes in the lab or forgotten beakers in the fridge. I am grateful TGS taught me to find peace between the “black and white” mindset and enjoy exploring the grey areas — it has made my research journey more enjoyable and gratifying overall.
How do you feel your TGS education has benefited you in your career (or secondary education) so far?
There are many, many many things I could write about – but recently, someone from my family mentioned to me that I had a way of doing things differently. And I don’t mean thinking outside of the box – I don’t really believe in the idea of a “box.” I believe we all have unique minds, and there is no unifying thought process – just some people speak louder than others. I think they meant that I could see “paths” where there weren’t doors before. I think most of us follow unique roads, but a skill that TGS allowed me to strengthen is to venture into directions without needing somebody to assure me the way is safe. And I think this applies to all TGS members.
What would you like to see yourself doing five years from now?
I am curious to see how I surprise myself – I am a big planner, and 2023 is the last year I have “planned” in terms of studying. I suppose research and travelling will be two big parts of my future, but I am very keen to see where life takes me!
Any advice you’d like to pass on to current and prospective TGS students?
I am not sure I have experienced enough yet to give advice, but a hard truth I learned is that when it comes to achieving your goals, it is much more important to be consistent than passionate. Having a passion is not a prerequisite to studying for a degree 🙂 Sometimes, waiting to understand your passion can stop you from seeing all the opportunities life offers. So whatever it is you want to try, go do it! And trust the journey, with all the failures and successes it will bring along.