Veronica and her Erasmus mates in Innsbruck
To grow up and find your own place in the world is never easy, especially because that is something you start doing when you are a teenager, which is a very complicated moment in everybody’s life. Well, complicated as well as exciting.  This series of posts dedicated to my former students and their after-school experiences has the aim to help my present students to become more aware of what expects them out there once they leave the safe environment of high school and to give them suggestions and advice on how to brace themselves.

Today it is Veronica’s turn. She’s had quite a brilliant academic career so far. She can be a model,  an inspiring example with her will strength and unsatiable curiosity. Recently, she was even awarded a very special prize by the President of the Italian Republic,  Sergio Mattarella. 

Hi! I’m Veronica and Mrs Spila was my English teacher, though only during my last year at grammar school. I spent a nice period there and I was really satisfied. My school career was quite brilliant and I got my degree with the highest grade… but not because I love studying… just thanks to my willpower.
In my life I’ve often changed my mind about what I wanted to do in the future. When I was in  middle school, my dream was to become an archaeologist. This is why I chose grammar school. But I loved also literature, reading good books and writing, too. So I thought “why not a journalist?”. Yes, good idea. But I loved cinema, as well. So I decided I might have been a film critic.
 Actually,  I’ve always loved lots of things,  but none was my “true love” and, in short, after leaving high school, I decided to study Economy at University.
You maybe wonder why. At that moment it was a very simple decision actually, because I knew exactly what I wanted in my life: I wanted to be a manager. Not an easy goal, but that  was my ambition.

I loved the idea of running a company, of contributing to create something people would want to buy and, l last but not least, I loved leading! (My sister knows that pretty well! J).
So I started studying  Economy and Management at the European University of Rome. During my bachelor years I had to move to Rome and live there and I had the possibility to meet a lot of nice people and make  some interesting experiences. For example, I worked as a voleenter to help disabled people.
After three years I got my bachelor degree and I decided to go on with my studies. Just the bachelor degree, in fact, is not sufficient to find a good job. Competition in the job market is strong and a master degree allows you to be a step ahead of your competitors. So I enrolled for a master.  I wanted to meet new people and study in a new environment, so I started my MSC in Management at Tor Vergata University.
Nevertheless, I felt that it was not enough to make new experiences. As soon as I visited Tor Vergata website I saw the announcement for spending a period abroad with the Erasmus program. “This is what I want” I thought. So I had not attended my first master class yet, but I had already applied for the Erasmus. Exactly one year and 10 exams later I left. Direction Austria. Austria could seem a very near destination I know, but I made this choice because I have always been fascinated from that country and its culture. I spent six months in Innsbruck but I visited also a lot of other places in Austria with my new friends.

It was one of the most beautiful experiences in my life. I attended some master courses with students from all over Europe and I met people from all over the world. There is also the other face of the coin. Before applying for the Erasmus program I was very indecisive. On the one hand I wanted to leave, while on the other I knew that my English was not so fluent and I should have attended master courses taught in English and live with foreign people. In that moment I frequently thought about Mrs Spila. “If I had had Mrs Spila as my teacher all through my high school career!”. But I was very determined to achieve my goal. I think all people have some features that allow them to achieve their aims. One of mine is determination. Hence,  I left.
After   that experience, I came back to  Italy and I got my master degree in April 2015. The hardet part began. When you are a student, in fact, the achievement of your goals depends on you and your diligence, but when you have to face the job world that is not enough. When you want to get a job, in fact, you have to compete with a lot of other guys, and everyone has the same aim as you. So you have to find the way to set off your capabilities and show that you are the best choice  for that job.
I was looking for something that could allow me to make the most of my knowledge, challenge my competence and my attitudes and that gave me the chance to grow up professionally. So I decided to start a Phd.

Veronica receives her prize from President Mattarella
At the moment I’m a Phd student in Public Management. If you are wondering what a Phd is, it is the maximum grade of education you can reach and, also if it is considered a course of study, it is actually work. You work on researcher and it is very interesting, it allows you to use all your creativity and put in practice your capabilities. It requires curiosity as well as analytic skills and it allows you to have a lot of amazing experiences. You can study an issue thoroughly and you become really expert in that field.

Last month I received very good news: I won a national prize thanks to my master thesis. I wrote about the traceability and sustainability in made in Italy productions and in particular in the fashion industry and it was greatly appreciated. It is the proof that if you undertake something you are really interested in and you work thoroughly on it, in the end you will have get some positive results.
I don’t know what I want to do in my future exactly, but I know that I will always look for a way to reach my aims.

If I may give you some advice,  I'd tell you to dream and to find the way to fulfil your dreams. Do not be afraid of change! Do not be scared of new experiences! Be curious! And study, study a lot! Studying sounds a very bad word at your age, I perfectly know that. Anyway, study what you like, and not just because you have to know as much as possible (of course that is good too) but because the best consequence of studying is not get to have the right answers but get to ask the right questions.

Because without new questions there will not be new answers, hence new knowledge, and development  and advancement will not be achieved.

Veronica's piece was previously posted on my LEARN ONLINE blog

1 comment:

dstoutholcomb said...

What a way to fulfill your dreams! Congratulations on your prize and best wishes with your PHD.