Being a Harry Potter fanatic, the only thing I had high expectations from my move to Sydney is the Great Hall of the University of Sydney which according to rumors looks very much like the Great Hall of Hogwarts. Today my long wait was finally realised because our International Students Welcome was held at USyd’s Great Hall.
I was awe-struck. The Great Hall lived up my expectations, even far exceeded it. If only I brought my DSLR, I would have been able to capture its details. On its ceiling’s vault stood angels in a row holding something like a book. There were also students who wore a uniform that resembles that of Slytherin! Actually, let these photos speak for itself, although they won’t give justice to USyd’s beautiful architecture.
Structural beauty aside, the main highlight of my day was the speech from Professor Tyrone Carlin, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Registrar). He started by allowing us a moment to digest the fact that despite thousands of people who want to be in graduate school, we in that hall are lucky enough to get into the University of Sydney, one of the world’s best universities and ranked 37th in the 2013 QS World University Rankings.
He emphasised the importance of balance between studies and other aspects of life. Whilst other teachers would push students to study harder, he encouraged us go out to develop friendships and participate in activities be it in school or outside. He shared his own experience of going through Law School but getting out of it with no friends which was perhaps his greatest regret as a student.
His speech reminded me of Omar and Marc who were both undertaking their master’s degree on water resources engineering at the Katholieke Universiteit, the leading university in Belgium. While serious about their studies, they also did a lot of fun activities such as playing badminton, attending parties, going out with friends, cooking and spending long dinners over good conversations. It will not be a surprise if people would think they did more fun than study. But guess what? They both graduated cum laude (with honor)!
Basically, to survive grad school, one needs to play!