Program: PhD Art History, Year 5
About Me: I’ve always been intrigued by the Victorian era, particularly the way middle-class homes were ornately decorated with blue and white porcelain, antimacassars, bird cages, lambrequins, and so much more. Every object in these ostentatious rooms had meaning and projected an idea of the family’s position in society. My PhD research involves reading Victorian domestic advice manuals (primarily written by women) that dictated the proper ways one should decorate their home in order to show good taste and refinement, and comparing these descriptions to paintings and photographs of homes in both London, England and Montreal, as well as looking at diary and letter descriptions from those who inhabited these spaces. Most of these spaces no longer exist as they were in the 1800’s, so my project is about uncovering the reality of these homes when we’re only left idealized representations.
Why I chose Queen’s: I decided to study at Queen’s for a number of reasons from my supervisor, to the strategic location of Kingston between Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal so I’d be close to the cities I need to access for research.
What I’m here to blog about: I’ve spent the last three years getting to know the best coffee shops in Kingston to work at (there’s got to be that perfect combo of free wifi, inexpensive coffee, the feeling that you’re allowed to loiter a couple of hours without worrying that you’re taking up seating, general ambiance, etc.), the best libraries to study in (Stauffer can get so grey sometimes and mixing it up is much needed), the best things to do in your spare time around Kingston to keep active when you’re studying all day (climbing at the Boiler Room!). I’d like to share those type of tips to grad students as well as more practical things that tend to come up regularly during my shifts working at the SGPS.
Name: Hannah Darvin
Program: PhD Art History, Year 2
About Me: My PhD involves looking at the weird and wonderful world of Victorian medicine, particularly through the lens of visual and material culture. I spend a good deal of time in libraries, digging around archives and visiting medical museums. My research is positioned at the intersection of art history, medical history and the medical humanities and looks at how the rise of modern medicine in late 19th-century Britain changed the way death is represented and experienced. If you ever need recommendations for curious museums to visit on your travels, I’m the person to ask! I first came to Queen’s as an undergrad in 2005 and have had the chance to see how the university and Kingston have developed and changed. Before deciding to come back to Queen’s for my PhD, I lived and worked in London, England for five years and can definitely relate to moving to a new city, meeting new friends and trying to settle in as a graduate student.
Why I chose Queen’s: When looking for a PhD program, I wanted an environment that both nurtured and challenged me academically so Queen’s was a natural choice. What sealed the deal for me was the expertise and research interests of my supervisor, the generous funding available for graduate students and the vibrant research community at Queen’s.
What I’m here to blog about: I hope to share my experience as I navigate the world of academia by sharing the progress of my PhD, my knowledge of resources and services at Queen’s and my familiarity of Kingston. As graduate students we often spend a lot of time in isolation thinking, researching and writing and I hope this blog will serve as a way for us to connect no matter what field we’re in, share common experiences and find a bit of fun in our everyday grind to get towards our degree.
Name: Jiahui Shen
Program: PhD in Chemistry, Year 4
About Me: I came to Queen’s after I finished my BSc in Chemistry at XJTLU in China. After completing my MSc in Chemistry in 2016, I continued to work on my PhD degree in the same group. My research is about using 17O NMR as a new probe to study glucose metabolism in Hela cancer cells. We are hoping to yield more structure and dynamic information on molecular interactions inside cancer cells with this unique probe.
Outside of work, you can find me painting, making homemade meals, hanging out with friends, taking care of my indoor plants and watching Netflix etc.
Why I chose Queen’s: I chose Queen’s because my professor at my undergraduate university recommended me here. Later I found out that Queen’s is a prestigious university with rich history. The Art and Science program is also very competitive and just had a Nobel Prize winner in 2015! I found the community here is very close and friendly. It makes me feel like another home as an international student. Kingston is a quiet town but has everything you need. It also has an excellent location where you can travel around Ottawa, Montreal, and Toronto easily.
What I’m here to blog about: I would like to share my experience as an international graduate student at Queen’s with a science background. Graduate studies can be hectic and sometimes even a bit overwhelming, especially as a science student where you basically need to work around your experiments instead of always working at regular hours. I would like to share some of my tips on how to have work-life balance, how to cook your own healthy meals on a tight budget, and how to develop affordable hobbies and to keep a positive mood and then overall have a gratifying life. After spending 5 years at Queen’s, I also hope some of my experience as an international student would be helpful to new coming students to help them better enjoy their graduate life, such as how to transition into a new environment, how to develop intercultural awareness and how to get involved into the local community.
Name: Nikita Jariwala
Program: Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning, Year 1
About Me: I completed my undergraduate degree in Environment Urban Sustainability at Ryerson University in 2017. Since then, I have been working and travelling, further exploring my interests in urban planning. Unlike many master’s programs that are research based, mine is a course-based master’s with the option of conducting research through a report/thesis. I still have many interests and am trying to narrow them down to a single question. Currently the topics that interest me include planning with Indigenous peoples, transit-oriented development, and urban environmental design.
Outside of my academic life, I am interested in learning many dance forms including salsa, bachata, swing, afrobeats, bollywood, and hip hop. I also enjoy checking out new places (restaurants, bars, stores, museums, galleries, events) as well as going on long walks!
Why I chose Queen’s: I chose Queen’s for two main reasons: the location and the network. Queen’s is in an incredibly convenient location, only a short distance from major cities like Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa. My program really capitalizes on this opportunity through organized class fieldtrips to study land use patterns: roads, neighbourhoods, housing, green spaces, public spaces, etc.
I am also really enjoying living in Kingston- it has a good array of restaurants and things to do, but what I love most is being able to see the water all the time! I also chose Queen’s because of its excellent reputation and vast network of Alumni. My program is also well established and is celebrating its 50th anniversary next year!
What I’m here to blog about: I’m here to share my experiences of being a graduate student at Queen’s University. More so, I’m looking forward to sharing my experience outside of academia! I hope to write about extracurricular activities, places to visit, restaurants and food, museums and art galleries, and other points of interest in and around Kingston. Lastly, I want to share with you all some tips for mindfulness, fostering positive relationships, and taking care of yourself.