Sandra Agyapong-Badu is studying towards a PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Southampton. Her desire is to become a top health professional and researcher
I chose the University of Southampton due to its commitment to excellent world-class research that makes a difference to people's lives.
The university attaches significant importance to quality research and the Faculty of Health Sciences has experienced health professionals who are internationally renowned for their expertise in various specialties.
What I personally find useful are the strong links with the teaching hospital, which give healthcare students the opportunity to draw on the expertise of professionals in practice. This equips students with skills working in a multidisciplinary team, which is useful for future roles in a changing healthcare environment.
As a researcher, I am delighted with the opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration to help me to achieve my study goals and research objectives. I knew that doing postgraduate study in such a world-class environment would be challenging but also academically rewarding to help me achieve my ambitions and contribute towards my quota of healthcare delivery and policy making.
The MPhil/PhD programme started with an induction programme, as well as a comprehensive research training programme delivered in blocks. As an international student, the induction helped me to settle in and introduced me to the many facilities at my disposal, such as supervisors, the library and sporting facilities.
The support from supervisors and advisors is also crucial for the successful completion of Doctoral study. Every student is part of a research group and the support of the research community is vital in developing personal, professional and career development goals. The administrative staff are excellent, as well as the supportive IT team that provides both remote and desk-side support for students.
Postgraduate study, unlike undergraduate study, requires a great deal of perseverance and dedication. There is a lot of flexibility in postgraduate studies through the choice of full-time or part-time study routes. The faculty of health sciences has a number of modules to choose from depending on your interests and career pathway.
A postgraduate student must realise the importance of academic support but also their personal contribution towards successful completion of the programme cannot be overestimated.
As challenging as postgraduate studies may sometimes prove to be, being in the right institution with the right academic support could make the experience a very worthwhile one.
I have come to appreciate the importance of breaking down the tasks involved in the research study and how all the little tasks and stages form part of the puzzle for the successful completion of my postgraduate study.
It is important to be flexible in setting targets and be aware of unforeseen circumstances and set preliminary deadlines ahead of actual deadlines so you can always catch up if necessary.
Self-motivation in terms of gathering data, balancing study, work and other commitments, as well as meeting personal and programme deadlines, are vital for achieving set goals in postgraduate studies.
I am currently in my final year and my plan upon completion of my PhD is to pursue a career in research and clinical work using the acquired transferrable skills and knowledge to contribute to best quality healthcare provision.
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