My name’s Zhe Tian. I'm a final year PhD student based in Environmental Risk and Health Management Department. My research is about identifying and quantify sources of air pollutants in urban area in China.
I chose Birmingham University because we have a leading scientific group on air quality research. And another reason is Birmingham is a very nice city and we also have a really lovely campus.
I need to do quite a lot of things per day. I think in the early morning I will reply to some emails and do some reading – I think keep reading is a very good habit. And I will just go to the lab and finish the plan of the lab work and proceed in my lab because my research is more about experiments. But also I will meet my first supervisor weekly to have a very regular meeting with him to secure my progress is well monitored. It’s a less formal. And every month I will have a very formal meeting with my first and co supervisor to discuss what I have done in the last month.
We have a very big office, and all students are studying similar topics. So normally, for example, during lunchtime we will communicate with each other in the common room while eating. It’s a very good networking and we can also know some frontiers from other research groups.
My favourite thing staying in Birmingham is to build a very productive relationship between myself and the supervisor, and growing that from a taught student to a real researcher.
Apart from the academics I'm really enjoying lots of activities provided by Guild of Students, and this year I joined the Archery Society. I practice actually twice a week. From this sport I'm learning how to be focused, how to be a calm person but also confident person to build a very good psychology.
Hopefully I can do a short term, for example, two year postdoc in somewhere, and to gain more experience and publishing more articles before I really join the academic society. And after that I want to go back to China to carry on my research on air quality in China and to do some contributions. From this year, because it’s my final year, I build a very close contact with the career network to have some more ideas about what’s going in the future.
Ideally I really want to be a lecturer in a university. So I attended a training course by the Graduate School on Teaching. I finish most of them. And every year I will do some demonstration for Masters students. And for publishing papers, I've already got a draft for a review on my research topic, and in the final year I will publish one or two other papers on my data to show what I've done in the last three years.