My life aspiration is to do something that leaves a positive mark, whether it’s professionally in the field of criminology, or whether it’s professionally through teaching students and inspiring them to do what they’re interested in. On a personal level, just to be a good human being and help people as much as I can just to be the best they can be.
I’ve been at Essex for my undergrad and my masters and now my PhD. Getting on to the PhD is probably my proudest accomplishment. And being able to secure funding for it because I know that’s very competitive. I think the thing I’m most proud of is seeing the change in my mentality and my understanding. Not just of criminology and the things we have been studying specifically but how I was able to take that and apply it to different aspects of life and how that has completely changed my mindset and understanding of everything going on around me. I know a lot of people take some time out after their bachelors and masters to work and that usually gives people a bit more maturity and a different outlook on life. Whereas I just went straight from masters to PhD and I was thinking I’m up against all these people with careers behind them, but to be able to get a place and to also get funding for it, that was pretty cool. This is important for me because since I was in middle school or high school I knew I wanted to do a PhD.
I knew I wanted to teach in a university and this was the route I had to plan for and I knew I wanted to study in the UK. So now it’s all sort of falling into place now and I’m seeing my dreams from back then come true. Being from Romania studying in the UK or US was something all the cool people did or smart people did so it was always something to look up to. When I was in middle school I had a chance to come on a trip we went to Oxford for a few weeks on a summer camp and just the atmosphere and the academic environment really appealed to me.
Essex is a place where anyone, whatever they want to do or are expecting to do everyone can find a place and can find a way to achieve that. It’s a community of people who have the interest of their students very high up on their priority list whatever they’re doing. I think the supporting environment and the willingness of people to just help you however they can. If not directly, just refer you to someone else that’s something I think is quite unique to Essex.
I live by the mind-set that everything is going to be alright, if not now then tomorrow or eventually. Not to stress too much about it now, just take it one step at a time and you’ll get there.