Areej Shahid Families Officer

I am a mother of two handsome boys (3yr and 1yr) and am currently enrolled in a Doctor of Philosophy (Electrical and Electronics Engineering) at the University of Melbourne. I arrived in Australia in Dec 2019 and gave birth to a baby boy right at start of pandemic in March 2020. Being a new parent, new PhD student and a new resident of Australia during a mind-shaking pandemic was indeed a tough journey. It was GSA who kept the graduate students (especially parents like me) connected, motivated, and optimistic. GSA strives hard to make the students’ stay at the university comfortable, fearless, eventful, enjoyable, and most memorable through their efforts and thoughtfulness. I strongly advocate for the representation of graduate parents at a formal level and a platform which they could confide in to discuss issues, opportunities, services, and facilities. Graduate studies are challenging and so is parenting. For those trying to balance in between higher studies and family, external help plays a vital role. I cannot stress enough on how impactful slight motivation, connectivity, relatability, and a sense of community is for a graduate family. Previously I have advocated for cheaper childcare, smoother transition for incoming international student families, more informed student body regarding parents’ room facilities and much more. I am excited to continue my endeavours to make graduate families’ journies comfortable and cherishable.

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