In episode 52, Yao talks to us about uncertainty, independence and talking through the past.
Each episode is a snapshot, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. As the world emerges from pandemic paralysis, are our Class of 2021 feeling inspired or inhibited, glad or gloomy, chaotic or calm?
Welcome to Season 2, a little bit of the same but quite a lot different. Subscribe now and find out what everyone is up to and how they feel about life, the last 12 months and future plans.
All opinions expressed are those of the individual and do not necessarily reflect those of the University of Edinburgh.
Multi Story Edinburgh has been created and produced by the Alumni Relations team at the University of Edinburgh. If you are interested in telling your story, please get in touch and let's talk.
Music: Since When by Mise Darling from freemusicarchive.org
Artwork: Vector created by redgreystock from www.freepik.com
Sonia 0:09 This is a snapshot, a moment, a sneak inside the minds of our graduates. This is season two, Class of 2021. A little bit of the same, but quite a lot different.
Yao 0:23 Hi everyone, this is CL from China. I'm a fresh postgraduate student in the University of Edinburgh. My programme is Masters in Economics. Currently, actually, I just moved in to my new house after sleeping on my friend's sofa for almost a week. So now I've really cherished my bed. Like, that's maybe the most important thing in my life now [laughs]. Actually, for the next year, I chose to work as a full time tutor in my school. So now I'm having like all sorts of meetings, and preparations for my work, but my work literally begins in two weeks. So now is like a relaxing time I guess. I'm still waiting for my dissertation grade and that actually matters a lot to me, because if I want to do a PhD programme, my dissertation has to be very great. So yeah, that makes me really uncertain about my future. And also, I'm kind of in the transition between student and a tutor. And also because my work place is in university, so I feel like I'm always here. This decision comes from, like, I want to do a PhD programme, but I didn't find my research interests really. At the very beginning, I chose to do [?] economics, and I applied for a PhD programme in my school. But after a few months, I found myself really interested in econometrics. During my undergraduate study, I thought like econometrics is really difficult. All this math and I never like it. I just see it as my burden. Like I just need to finish the exams. Like here, I don't know why maybe it's the atmosphere or the professor, like I've really become interested in econometrics. So I was thinking to gap a year and like do GRE, to some English tests and apply for PhD programmes worldwide. But actually this decision is a-- my parents really don't like it. So yeah, for the following year, I wouldn't have financial support from them, so I need to support myself. I got this offer at the beginning of September, yeah, so at that time, I was really anxious like I need to support myself so I need to do multiple part-time jobs which I don't have. So like all this struggle and all this kind of like desperation even. And then I got an offer from my school and everything is just sorted out now [laughs], yeah. I can get bored really easily based in one place but Edinburgh is a place that I think I want to live here for many, many years. Yeah, I think it's really different. It has everything to offer like it has a castle, it has sea, has mountains, hills, has history, culture, I think it has everything that I'm interested in, so yeah. If I have opportunity, I want to live here and I choose to work here as my-- during my gap year, also because like I want to have more time to enjoy it. There are so many places I didn't go like the-- like Cramond. I went to Cramond after graduation, so shame on me.
Yeah, I have a bunch of friends. They're all Chinese people and we study together. We have many gatherings during the week and we just-- we didn't explore the city together, we just talk together you know, like we sit in all-- all sorts of corners in Edinburgh and we just talk and talk for hours. Actually, we have one thing in common because like we come from the same programme, like we arranged some offline meeting ourselves. And also I have very nice flatmates last year like they-- they come from different countries. And they've really helped me to improve my oral English, like, really [laughs]. I think I'm really different now. Like, at the very beginning of this programme, I don't have a certain purpose, like, shall I work after graduation or shall I proceed my study? But after this year, I feel so certain about my future like, I want to do a PhD. And previously, I think a gap year is just impossible for me. Like my parents said, it's just a waste of time. But now I-- against their view, like, against their view, I choose to gap a year. I'm confident to support myself, and I'm courageous enough to face all this uncertainty and the risks in the following year. Yeah, I think I'm much more confident than the beginning. I think I've become really conscious about many things. Like in the past, maybe I listen to others opinions, too, just too much. Take their opinions really seriously. So that hurt my self confidence a lot. And also, for the past year, I encountered some really big difficulties like, at the very beginning of my study, I encountered financial-- like really serious financial problems. And at that time, I didn't know but I still have money to proceed my like, postgraduate study. And also in my second semester, I lost my grandmother. Yeah, that's like, two things unexpected and also impact my life completely. But the difference is like in the past, the only thing I can do is desperation, sadness and now I think I have power to face all these problems. And I have confidence to overcome it.
I'm still scared now to be honest. Like, what will happen to me in the following year? Like working is a whole new field. I don't know what to do, actually. I just participate in all these meetings, but they-- they just give me a clue what will happen. But since I'm teaching tutorials, I really need to learn the concepts myself. Until then, I can't say that I'm fully prepared. So right now, I'm just scared. Like, totally scared [laughs]. I think it's really good to talk about the past. There are some things I just don't dare to think about. Every time I think about them, I just feel emotional, I just want to cry, you know? Yeah, it's a really nice opportunity to think about them and talk about them. Not all my friends know what happened to me.
Sonia 8:17 We also ask our graduates to share a place, somewhere special, somewhere we can get together when all this is finished.
Yao 8:29 I think this is a very difficult question to be honest. Yeah, there's so many places in Edinburgh, I think I'm deeply attached to. But if I need to choose only one place, I think South Bridge is a vital part of my past year. I remember during the darkest time of my life, I walked on South Bridge, seeing all these cars racing past me, and all the lights lighting there. I feel hopeless. Yeah, that feeling is really deep. I just feel hopeless. Yeah and then things changed. My life becomes better and I have friends. I became a happy person again. And then I walked on South Bridge and see this busy car flow. I feel hope, I feel like I have a future. I feel that this is life, people are enjoying their life. They're heading back home, it's really warm, lovely. Yeah, I think South Bridge really is my change of mind. So yeah, that's very important to me. Yeah, I feel really confident and happy now heading to the University via South Bridge. I feel like there's a bright future standing there waiting for me [laughs]. And that's something that I can fight for. I can control and if I work hard enough, I can succeed in the future. Yeah.
Sonia 10:21 Thank you for listening. Join us next time for another graduate and another story
Kirsten 10:33 Feeling inspired by what you've just heard? Take the first step to getting the career you want by contacting the Careers Service. As a recent graduate, you can continue to access all of our services, including access to vacancies on mycareerhub, practice interviews, our full calendar of online employer events, and online appointments with one of our careers consultants. Find out more at ed.ac.uk/careers.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai