School of Public Policy master's student and 2016 Three Minute Thesis finalist Leah Kelley talks about study space at the Vancouver campus, bike lanes, and where to go if you are craving something spicy.
I was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta and completed my Bachelor's Degree in Social Work at the University of Calgary in 2010. Prior to moving to Vancouver to start my Master's Degree in Public Policy at SFU, I spent more than four years supporting women to get assistance, connect with others and work for change at a grassroots non-profit called Women's Centre of Calgary.
I chose SFU's School of Public Policy because of its practical focus. In addition to learning important theory, I have had the opportunity to get my hands dirty and conduct useful and timely research and policy analysis.
Advice for new grad students
Last year a graduate student gave a valuable piece of advice to me. She warned me not to think of the MPP degree as a series of sprints but rather I should approach it as if it is a marathon. This has proven to be incredibly useful advice!
Each day is different but I have broken my most typical day down into sections.
I wake up early. Despite not classifying myself as a morning person, I have the best focus in the early hours of the day. My first cup of coffee gets me going as I prepare for the day ahead and I always fill my travel mug with more for the road.
The rest of the morning consists of traveling by SkyTrain to Harbour Centre and attending a class or a meeting or taking the bus up to “the mountain” to work on my assignments and capstone thesis.
After taking a quick lunch break (I recommend Guadalupe’s at SFU Burnaby) I typically get back to work on my capstone and other assignments. As the co-chair of the Master of Public Policy Student Caucus, I also frequently send e-mails and connect with other students regarding caucus initiatives.
My evenings typically begin with cooking and sharing dinner with my partner. My favourite meal to cook is black bean and sweet potato burritos. After dinner, I take some down time if possible. I might attend an open mic or spoken word event, watch Netflix or catch up with family and friends. Often, however, I have to put in more hours of work. In the evening I catch up on course readings or plan and practice presentations.