Multi Story Edinburgh

Gabriel - Class of 2021 - Working life, support networks and doing something that matters

November 24, 2021 The University of Edinburgh Season 2 Episode 19
Multi Story Edinburgh
Gabriel - Class of 2021 - Working life, support networks and doing something that matters
Show Notes Transcript

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? In this episode we meet Gabriel who has just completed his MSc in Bioinformatics.

Welcome to Season 2, a little bit of the same but quite a lot different. Each month we meet five more graduates from the Class of 2021. 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 
Artwork: Vector created by redgreystock from

[Theme music]

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.

Gabe  0:21  Hi everyone, I'm Gabe. I studied Biomedical Sciences in Edinburgh, so back in 2017, graduated in 2020, the year of the pandemic and then took a master's in Bioinformatics at Edinburgh as well, from 2020 to 2021. It was-- it was a bit of an interesting situation because I took direct entry, so I skipped the first year. So a lot of my friends who started in the same year as me, they'd all been in third year when I was about to graduate. With a pandemic coming around, I kind of figured, you know, I'm enjoying it here in Edinburgh, I'd like to stay with my friends a bit more and this is a really cool programme that I think I might enjoy. I applied to a couple of other unis such as Glasgow-- I think I only applied to Glasgow, to be honest. But when I heard back from Edinburgh, I figured this is something I can see myself doing, I think, just made sense, really. The support network is something that's really important. It's something that I definitely felt in March, everything shut and then some flatmates had to go back to-- back home over--overseas. So there were a couple of us that stayed in Edinburgh and I definitely felt that being in a different city all alone without these kinds of friends, yeah, it wouldn't have been ideal, I would have definitely suffered or definitely struggled. I was really worried about going home and giving my parents something. So it was a difficult decision. Definitely not being able to see my family for so long. But I think it's something that-- I think it was the right decision at the end of the day. I mean, the thing, I guess I felt during that time was just the love and support of my friends, which I think was definitely a really important thing through the whole period. Having friends around, it's-- we celebrated graduation in quarantine, everyone made their own cocktail, and then we went up to Arthur's Seat at sunrise.

So I've started my first job as a Bioinformatician at Anthony Nolan. Right now I'm kind of looking at the different ways we can help individuals suffering from blood cancers. So I'd like to think it's, it's a noble job. I wanted to do something that was related to my initial degree with health and science and really helping people. And I think this is a nice way that I can do something I enjoy with bioinformatics and programming and have a tangible result. I think I was so scared of rejection that I kind of left it for a bit. And then I started hearing from my friends who applied to grad schemes quite early on in first semester, and they started getting jobs. So I think it slowly kind of put the pressure on me and joking around with my parents as well, you know, 'we can't support you forever' , and all that stuff. And then one of my best friends he started applying as well. And we're kind of like on the same path. So when he kind of started and he started getting some acceptances, I figured maybe now I should start looking out. And he showed me his spreadsheet of all the jobs he applied to and seeing the volume did panic me a bit. I'm super proud of him like he's, he's now doing a PhD in Madrid. I think it is nice having that-- that feeling of taking the next step. Definitely being in Edinburgh for university, that kind of felt like a step in itself after moving there from-- from where I used to live in Geneva, Switzerland. I do think that moving and changing location to do a completely different thing kind of helps with a mindset, I guess. Maybe if I stayed in Edinburgh, I would have lived through much of a student life. I was-- I was always terrified of moving to London because it's such a big city. I've been a couple of times to visit some friends and taking the central line at rush hour was terrifying [laughs]. Yeah, going home and realising okay, it's another day of nine to five tomorrow and again and again until the weekend. I kind of realised this is it for the rest of my life, obviously, unless that changes into, I don't know, becoming a race car driver, which would be pretty cool. Yeah, I kind of realised that-- yeah, it's the next step. It's-- you have to apply for holidays now, so. 

I remember the first day of work, I dressed up all smart and I was trying to be very serious. But now that I've gone to everyone, I've relaxed a bit and kind of getting into it. I think, the first week of working, I was thinking to myself, what if I did a PhD instead? Staying a student, keeping the student benefits, student discounts and all. I'm not sure, I think I kind of-- at the end of fourth year I kind of had that academic burnout. I kind of wanted to have that responsibility to make my own money and to like to be able to sustain myself. That's one thing that kind of led me to professional life. I think I've always wanted to try and do something good with myself with my life and like have a positive impact on people. And I guess having a job where I could do that and still be doing-- learning about things I enjoyed and something I'd like to think I'm good at. I guess that kind of made sense for me. It's interesting because it's a lot of people from Edinburgh who moved down as well to start jobs or start further education and masters or PhDs. So there is a lot of friends from Edinburgh which I do see, which kind of makes you feel like there is that little bit of Edinburgh down here. I wanted to join the lacrosse club here because I used to play lacrosse at uni, they're called the Camden [?] which I thought was quite cute. Had some drinks for my workmates, which was like, I'm a local now. I haven't really had that much time to think about the next steps. It's kind of been like day to day, every other weekend I'm travelling up to Edinburgh to visit my-- my girlfriend and every other week she’s coming down, which is nice to have that structure. But haven't really thought about really putting roots down here to be honest. 

Right, you said shoutouts were allowed, so a shout out to my boys in Geneva for that, to the Edinburgh lacrosse club, shoutout to the friends in London, shoutout to people who work at Anthony Nolan, great charity. Sign yourself up as a-- as a donor, as a blood donor as well. Yeah, that's all the shoutouts I can think of right now. Thanks for that [laughs]. 

Sonia  6:36  We also asked our graduates to share a place, somewhere special, somewhere we can get together when all this is finished.

Gabe  6:45  I've thought about this question and you do say like a place of imagination as well. One thing that I'm looking forward to, like a place that I think like every now and then I kind of think about like oh, you know this will be a really cool thing is, it's-- well it hasn't happened yet and it's who knows if it will happen. I've always thought like, my wedding will be a very special place. Just having all my friends around, people I love and hopefully having a say in how the wedding goes and the celebrations for it. Because everyone with weddings and all that it brings people from all over the world and I think I'd like to think that everyone who meant something to me will be there and it will be a nice time.

Sonia  7:29  Thank you for listening. Join us next time for another graduate and another story. 

Kirsten 7:46  Wherever you are with planning for your future, the Careers Service is here to support you. As a recent graduate, you can continue to use all of our services, including full access to my career hub, online appointments with our career consultants, our full calendar of employer events and support with the application process. Find out more at

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