I am Aleksandra Przydrozna, currently a final year PhD student in the Department of Engineering. My research focuses on improving efficiency of space heating/cooling.
When I started a PhD, I had no idea what to expect. The ultimate goal was obvious – a PhD degree, but a path to achieving this was undefined and somewhat scary. After all, by signing a PhD contract, I committed to work on one project for the next 3+ years and I wanted to make the most of this experience.
It took me few months to get used to the new environment and the new line of work. By this time I have realised that patience and perseverance are key to pushing my research forward. Of course, it is easier said than done, especially when you are very passionate about your research and you can’t help but want to see some results immediately. For this very reason, a PhD can be filled with extreme `highs’ and `lows’. It is fulfilling and satisfying, when your experiments are working or you discovered something new and unknown. It can also be depressing at times, when you realise that your current direction leads to nowhere and you need to start over.
However, you are never alone in this process. You are surrounded by people who are going through this period as well and they can relate to your problems. I am very lucky to be a part of such a friendly graduate community in Murray Edwards. The young women, I have met in ME in course of last few years, are all very ambitious, talented and supportive. I believe that our friendships will stand a test of time and will last forever. The College keeps our community vivid by organising numerous social events and providing us with a Graduate Formal Hall every Tuesday, where we meet and exchange our weekly stories.
Overall, PhD research is a very unique experience with an infinite number of possible routes that can be undertaken in pursuit of some answers.
Hi, I’m Weichao, a second year PhD student from Singapore currently working at the Biological Soft System sector at the Cavendish Laboratory. It’s my pleasure to join Murray Edwards College as a graduate student as I have received so much advice and support from the college.
Recently, I participated in a career development event where the College Gateway team offered online sessions for students with our alumnae in relevant academic and industrial sectors. I signed up to the event hoping to gain a better knowledge of the career options available for female STEM (science, technology and engineering) students. To my surprise, I not only had interactions with alumnae from various sectors, I also received advice on how to progress in the next step of my PhD journey. On top of that, I had the opportunity to connect with an alumna from Microsoft, who was very helpful in directing me to other relevant departments in Microsoft to answer my questions on internship opportunities there.
The event was very well organized as well. Before the start of the online session, the profile of each alumna was collated in a document so that we could prepare ourselves and our questions. I chose three alumnae I particularly wanted to speak with and was also allocated two others. I had a 10 minutes chat online with each of them. Within an hour, I managed to speak with five alumnae, each in a different discipline. This would not have happened if the Gateway and IT teams had not put in so much effort into preparing for the networking sessions and had the laptops and software all set up beforehand.
This year, Murray Edwards College has put in a lot of effort into preparing its students for the ever more competitive job market. Besides the speed-networking session, I have also participated in a CV workshop and will attend a workshop on graduate careers in the weeks to come. Overall, I could not ask for more career advice and support for graduates that our college could offer. I hope in the years to come, I can be the alumna offering advice to future Murray Edwards students!
I came up to Murray Edwards in 2007 to read English as an undergraduate, and I returned to the college in 2013 to write my PhD after completing my MA at York.
My research (which is generously funded by the Faculty’s Winton Studentship) looks at the relationship between literature and financial crisis. I’m particularly interested in the similarities between language and money; both are quantifiable in one sense and unquantifiable in another, and both have a slippery relationship with ideas of ‘value’. One of my chapters looks at the role of metaphor in the development of our vocabulary of crisis. An example of this is the word ‘bubble’ – it’s thrown about in all sorts of contexts in the financial press, but economists can’t agree on what it really means.
I think it is essential to understand how and why we speak and write the way that we do about the world – it is a field that expands far beyond my specific topic, and I feel very privileged to have been given the opportunity to work on this for three years (and hopefully longer!)
I’m often asked why I came back to Murray Edwards rather than choose a new college for my postgraduate work, and since this blog piece has been written as part of the college’s 60th anniversary celebrations, I thought I’d address the question here. I have quite a few reasons, but I can genuinely say that the most important of them is the excellent teaching and encouragement I received from the English fellows at the college during my time here as an undergraduate. Beyond this, Murray Edwards itself is an engaging environment – we have prestigious academics and excellent resources, not to mention a strong and inclusive sense of community. …continue reading…