ARMI Students to Gain New Ways to Connect, Relax and Be Invigorated

22 Mar,2024

ARMI Students to Gain New Ways to Connect, Relax and Be Invigorated

It is a truth universally acknowledged that being an Honours, Masters or PhD student in biomedical research can often be a treacherous experience. From managing coursework and deadlines, learning new techniques and developing skills, and even juggling part-time employment on top of conducting experiments, the one-to-three-year journey can be physically, intellectually and emotionally challenging. As such, student welfare should be considered as one of the top priorities for universities, research institutes and project supervisors.

ARMI has a strong student culture of which peer support is a major component. However, PhD student and ARMI student representative Azadeh Anbarlou saw an opportunity to better advocate for the student cohort.

“As an ARMI student representative, I had the opportunity to attend the FGRC (Faculty Graduate Research Committee) meeting at the MNHS (Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences) faculty, where I learned about the possibility of applying for the SSAF (Student Services and Amenities Fee) grant. This grant aims to improve facilities for students, and I immediately recognised its potential benefit for our community,” she said.

Azadeh’s initial thoughts centered on the students who spend a significant amount of time at ARMI working with non-ergonomic microscopes- no doubt a cause of body aches and pains for researchers. “I came up with an idea to introduce a massage chair to our department, which would help us relax after long hours of work and enhance our comfort and well-being.”

That idea led to Azadeh consulting the broader ARMI student community for ideas and after a collaborative effort with input from fellow students, a list of amenities was compiled. This list included a coffee machine, foosball table, game console, volleyball and basketball equipment, in addition to the massage chair.

“This list covers a broad spectrum, all of which would improve holistically the workspace for ARMI students. Understanding that being a student in biomedical research can be stressful, the cohort wanted to create spaces for social connection, relaxation and invigoration, and stimulation of a different sort that could spark new ideas,” explained Azadeh.

Excitingly, the proposal was met with approval from the university, and they have generously agreed to cover the cost of all items. “Finding a balance between work and play is so important to maintaining well-being, and keeping yourself sharp and productive in the lab. We’re excited to offer these outlets on campus for ARMI students so they can access them exactly when they need them.”

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