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Deciding to do a PhD is not an easy or light decision to make, but since being a student at Telethon Kids Institute, I have had so much support and guidance that I thoroughly enjoy it.

I enrolled in my PhD on March 1st 2016, and have since become involved in all that the Institute has to offer.

In my first month of starting I went on the Student Development Program, held in Preston Beach. The day was filled with workshops and inspirational talks to give advice and insight to all levels of students in attendance.

Then there was a dinner and a quiz with the Institute Director Jonathan Carapetis. Now, I was very lucky and got to be on his team for the quiz. He knew a lot about the history of the Institute, which was needed for a few quiz questions, but didn't know much about emojis - luckily us students had that round covered! We ended up winning the quiz and as a group took home 7 kilograms of chocolate. It was a great way to bond with fellow students and get to know them in a social setting.

The following day we did 'Survivor' style team bonding activities, where all our competitive sides came out again. My team didn’t win but we had so much fun that it didn’t matter too much. It was a lovely 2 days, and I got to know many of the students and hear their stories.

Over the next few months, I got down to the research and writing my PhD proposal, which was very full on. When I enrolled, I went to an info session which outlined requirements and due dates that I would need to meet, which was very helpful. I was also advised who to go to if I needed help with particular things.

After lots of experiments, writing and student morning teas, I submitted my proposal document to UWA with very little trouble. Now I’m loving the community that I have become a part of. Your fellow students are an amazing resource. It’s great to know that you aren't the only one who is super busy; but also not too busy that you can’t stop for a coffee and a chat. Doing ground-breaking research is one thing, but being able to do it in such an amazing and supportive environment is something else altogether.

- PhD Student Kelly Martinovich

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