**Assistant Professor,**

Chennai Mathematical Institute

Chennai Mathematical Institute

A doctoral degree initiates a newly minted scholar onto the path of independent research, and as such, the graduate student stage is perhaps the most transformative period in an academician’s life. I consider myself fortunate to have completed my graduate studies in mathematics at Queen’s university, Kingston. Queen’s not only provided me with the degree that is essential to navigate a professional career, but also with values, true friendships, and warm memories that I will treasure for all time to come.

After completing my undergraduate education in India, I joined the Mathematics and Statistics department at Queen’s university in September 2014 as a master’s student. At first sight, the most striking feature about the campus were the royal limestone buildings right next to the expansive blue lake. But after a year, I realized that it was the people on campus that made it special, especially my thesis advisor, whose able guidance and his kind, inspiring and patient words instilled in me a confidence, which is essential for progress in research. He understood the emotional strain I experienced while settling into a different cultural milieu and impressed upon me the necessity of a philosophical perspective in life. Besides how to be a mathematician, my thesis advisor taught his students how to be a person through sheer example. I can quote with certainty that learning from him was by far the best feature of my time at Queen’s.

"I consider myself fortunate to have completed my graduate studies in mathematics at Queen’s university, Kingston."

Siddhi Pathak

The encouragement and support I received from other professors also played a crucial role during my graduate studies. Mathematical discussions on a variety of topics over coffee breaks, or even during a short elevator ride, were always welcome. Additionally, the experience gained by conducting tutorials and grading papers for undergraduate courses was valuable in honing my skills as a teacher. On the other hand, the weekly number theory seminar provided a platform for sharing ideas as well as practicing presentations. I also had the opportunity of communicating the aim of my thesis in a manner accessible to general audience through the departmental “3-minute-thesis” competition. While compressing an entire thesis into mere three minutes poses a challenge, it is particularly difficult in pure mathematics due to the amount of pre-requisite material. However, completing this task successfully, enabled me to grasp the heart of the thought behind my research and organize it in an engaging way, thus infusing in me the joy of sharing!

The graduate student seminar was another important instance of open exchange of ideas. I spent many evenings in the mathematically charged, but at the same time, relaxed and friendly atmosphere of the graduate student lounge. Working on challenging assignments and papers was made enjoyable by the amicable company and a liberal intake of coffee! Apart from academics, activities such as potluck dinners, boardgame nights and movie screenings frequently brought students together. Being the president of the Graduate Mathematics Society for a year was a very informative and rewarding experience. Moreover, dealing with unforeseen administrative hurdles was facilitated by the friendly staff who were always ready with apt advice.

In conclusion, I would like to thank Queen’s for the well-rounded training that sculpted my personality. I would not have imagined my graduate education any other way.