Hey graduate students! I hope you are doing well with the last days of the semester and the year. I would like to ask you a question: have you ever asked yourself what makes you different from others? I guess most of you will say “No”. Yup, no problems, but you should be yourself because you are unique. Okay, let’s start discussing some points: what makes you unique?


Know yourself

No one can tell you why you are the way that you are. Your personality, character, and skills have all been determined by your experiences in life. But do not forget that your life experiences may not be the same as anyone else’s. Just like you, no one else has the same likes and dislikes. No one else has had the same childhood, education, or adulthood. And no one else has had the same friends, acquaintances, and family members. So, you could not be like anyone else in this world because your experiences are entirely different.

Image source: Image # 2935622 by innaStokmail


Focus on your strengths

Instead of improving your weaknesses, let’s focus on your strengths, which will help you become “a star” in the future. For example, most Ph.D. students will focus on the area they chose with some help from their supervisor. During four years of Ph.D. programs, they have a chance to develop their skills in research and communications, the knowledge that will become strengths in their career. In my case, I decided to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry because I loved chemistry when I was a high school student. Reactions happened with different color changes– how amazing! I had ten years of experience, both academically and in the industry, in chemistry. That experience helped me improve my lab skills, creativity, problem-solving, among others. These skills will certainly become stronger in the future.

Nhan doing his experiments in the Green Chemistry and Catalyst Lab.


Do the hobbies and activities you love

People can do as they wish, and everyone only lives once in the universe. No two people are the same. Some people have strength in art (like dancers, singers, actors, etc.) or science (like scientists, doctors or researchers, etc.). Let’s do it. You can only be an expert in your area if you like your fields and focus on your goals. One of my hobbies is hiking and I often go hiking with my friends at Signal Hill Trail.

Signal Hill Trail, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada


Do not worry about how others see you

No one can live your life as you can. Life can’t wait for anyone, so you should not waste your precious time worrying about how others see you. Finally, you are the only one who decides your life. How do you please everyone? You have to know you cannot please everyone. Thus, focus on what you are doing well and do not worry about how others see you.

To summarize, you are unique because of your personal experiences, personality, character, and skills, which make you who you are. While there may be others who share these same things with you, you can never be exactly like someone else in this world!

It seems that Christmas and New Year are coming soon, and those holidays are about spending time with family and friends to create happy memories. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2022 to everyone!

I wish you all the best with happiness, health, and peace. May you always be yourself, and I hope your dreams will come true soon.

~ Nhan