By: Ahmad Galuta
Our fifth guest for “Unraveling the life of a student” is Giselle Lima. Giselle has a Bachelor of Science in Education. Giselle is currently completing her Masters in Education. Her research focuses on developing different learning strategies to help students understand concepts more efficiently and effectively. She is extremely passionate about science and about how every student understands it in their own unique way. I started off the interview by asking Giselle to tell us a little bit about herself including her background, academic interests, and hobbies.
“I'm originally from Brazil. Been in Canada for five years now. I'm a physicist and I'm also a teacher internationally trained and last fall I started my master's degree at the University of Ottawa. I've been touring since I was 18 so I've been doing that for 12 years now. I think my biggest passion is cooking. I also like to go for hikes when it's good weather. Go for a walk and I recently just bought a bike so I'm also biking. So those are pretty much my hobbies."
After getting to know Giselle’s interests and background, I asked her to describe her experience with being in university.
“I was only 17 when I got to university, and I feel like the biggest thing that was different from high school is just the sense that you have to do stuff on your own. There's no one to be there for you so I think its mentally preparing for all the challenges you're going to get and make sure that you're taking the time to listen to yourself and don't get overwhelmed and stay organized. I feel like doing a Master's abroad brought a different perspective to me especially on education because that was my main goal. I wanted to deeply understand Canadian education from within. So I was able to see different perspectives and how things are like and why the curriculum looks like the way it does was a good real experience for me. Also, I feel like my writing skills got a little bit better because the writing was never my strong suit.”
Giselle pointed out some important remarks in terms of being a new student at university. It is extremely important to stay organized and to prepare well to avoid feeling overwhelmed during your first year. I asked Giselle to walk us through her day to day life.
“So last semester, I was doing full time so I was taking four courses and it was pretty overwhelming and I tried to get myself organized in the best way that I could. I usually wake up around six 6:30 am and I have my breakfast and do a little bit of stretching, liberal yoga. I start studying at around eight to eleven. During those three hours, I organize and see what else I have to do like reading or actually studying. I take a two-hour break for my lunch so between 11 and one I'm preparing my lunch. After that, between one and five, all over again I'll take a big chunk of four hours just to get everything done, usually by five I'm done.”
Giselle has a pretty busy schedule which is quite common for graduate students so I resonated with her schedule. Giselle has more than nine years of experience teaching and that also includes her academic experience as an undergraduate and graduate student. With that in mind, I asked Giselle what she considers her greatest achievement to be.
“I don't count my big achievements because I feel like every little step for me counts. So, just the fact that I woke up in the morning is an achievement for me. I feel like planning to come to Canada and getting my permanent residency and soon my citizenship with my husband is also a really good achievement. If anyone told me that 10 years ago, knowing that I was really comfortable with where I was, I would have never believed it. I think just embracing change is a great achievement in itself.”
Giselle radiates positive energy and when she mentioned moving to Canada and how her life transformed over the span of a few years, it got me thinking about where she would go to if she had the ability to time travel.
“I would travel to the future just to see how things are going in terms of my goals. I just want to have a glimpse of what is happening a year from now.”
I thank Giselle for sharing her thoughts and her story with me, as I found her story to be moving and relatable. Giselle will continue to complete her master's degree in education at the University of Ottawa and we will continue to support her academically, and wish her the best with her personal journey.