Nada Farsi graduated in 2015 with a PhD from the Faculty of Dentistry in the Division of Oral Health and Society. She is currently an Assistant Professor.
Q: What made you interested in doing a PhD in your field?
I like teaching and I have always wanted to join academia. After I graduated from dental school, I got a job at the university where I graduated, and I was given a scholarship to continue my studies abroad (for which I am very thankful).
Q: What kind of support did you receive during your PhD program?
I received tremendous support from my family, especially my parents. My mother came to visit me often, and she helped me a lot. I was always happy to have her over.
From a financial point of view, I had a full scholarship from the Ministry of Education, paid through the Cultural Bureau in Canada, and I am very thankful for that.
My supervisors were very supportive and understanding. Besides the knowledge that I have gained, I learned so many skills from them.
Q: What was the biggest challenge for you in finishing your PhD?
I would say my biggest challenge was time. I know that PhDs can extend for many years, but I didn’t have time to spare. I had to go back to my country and get back to my job, and I had to also coordinate with my family’s timeline too.
Q: What has been the biggest challenge for you after graduation?
My biggest challenge post-graduation was settling into my job. I was used to having the guidance of my supervisors, and going to my supervisors when I faced problems. Suddenly, I was on my own. I missed them and I missed their guidance. I am glad we are still in touch, and we are even planning to collaborate on research projects together.
Q: Are there any experiences you had in graduate school that have been valuable to you post-graduation?
All of the guidance from my supervisors has been valuable to me post-graduation. I implement a lot of the things my supervisor taught me with my students. I even told my supervisor that sometimes I feel as if I have her as my inner voice, guiding me on how to deal with my students.
Q: What is your current position?
I am an assistant professor in the Faculty of Dentistry at the King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Q: What is your daily working life like now?
Now, I teach undergraduate and graduate students and I give workshops. I also conduct research. Some of the research projects I am working on now are related to the topic of my PhD project.
Q: If you could go back and tell yourself something about your PhD journey, what would it be?
I would tell myself to enjoy it, and I would reassure myself that I will complete the PhD and defend my thesis well. Looking back at that period, I was stressed on many occasions and felt hopeless at times. There were even times when I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I just felt like it was a never-ending journey.
Q: Lastly, Is there anything else you would like to share?
I would just like to add that I am very proud that I am a McGill graduate and I always say that with pride.
Many thanks to Nada for sharing her PhD narrative!
This interview took place in February 2021. Interviews are edited by the TRaCE McGill Editorial team for length and clarity before publication.