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Holly Dole

Dear First Year Me,

You are all by yourself at this “big” university, in this “big” city, asking yourself, “Did I do the right thing? How am I going to do this on my own? What if I fail a class?” … am I right? Before you start panicking, I am going to tell you that, honestly, you are going to be fine. You are not the only one feeling that way. Just get out there, go meet some of the other students, and you will see. First step, do as many activities during 101 week as you can. This is where you will meet many of your friends that will help you get through the coming years, not to mention the memories, like engineering “messy day”, will be something you talk about for years to come.

When it comes to classes, don’t be afraid to go see your TAs and professors. They are not even close to being as scary as you think they are – you are a TA now. Do keep up the study habits you have though – starting early, organizing yourself, and no all-nighters – it will lower your level of stress and let your brain nicely store everything for when you need it. Remember to breathe when you get to that question on the exam that you just don’t know at the moment; tell yourself that you know it – you will be able to think clearer and it will come to you, even if you need to leave it and go onto the next one.

Finally, don’t forget to have fun. Meet as many new people as you can and volunteer for as many different events as you can; it will help you learn and grow into the person you will become. Try to also stay active – exercise benefits your brain as much as your body. Don’t get lost looking too far into the future because you can change your path whenever you like – I know, because doing a Ph.D. right now is not part of your “original” plan. Always challenge yourself. You will be surprised by what you can achieve!

Sincerely,

Future Holly

Short Biography

Holly Dole is currently a Ph.D. student in Chemical Engineering at the University of Ottawa where her project focuses on the removal of volatile organic compounds from the air using nano-structured catalysts. She graduated from her B.A.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Ottawa in December 2010, continued onto her Master’s in 2011 and, finally, switched to the fast-track Ph.D. program in May 2012. In addition to being a graduate student, Holly teaches Zumba® to students at the university, is involved in her graduate student association, and volunteers for outreach programs such as “Go Eng Girl” and the University of Ottawa engineering workshops for high school students.

Holly beside the mural she designed and painted, with the help of other students, for her B.A.Sc. graduating class.

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