Jerrin Reji is a 25 year old Masters of Food Science student from Kerala, India. He completed his undergraduate degree from Karunya University in Coimbatore, India.
"Live in the present and enjoy what you can, when you can."
Q: What’s something people wouldn’t know about where you grew up?
A: Being native of South India, I spent most of my childhood in a small town called Surat, Gujarat in North India. From there, I moved to Kuwait for my high school. I shifted back to India to pursue my undergraduate degree at Karunya University in Coimbatore, India and initial stage of professional career.
Q: Growing up, would you ever believe you would be living in Australia?
A: Studying or even living in Australia was always an impractical dream for me that I never took seriously due to various reasons, one of which being family ties and networks in Canada and other gulf countries. Thus, always thought of shifting to any of those countries after my studies (to keep the family and tradition going…). But I always believed in faith and destiny, and here it is, Australia.
Q: What philosophies or mantras help guide you?
A: I stand strongly in three personal beliefs;
1 - “Whatever you do, make sure it makes you happy”,
2 - “Live the present and enjoy what you can, when you can”
3 - “Fruit of hard-work will never go in vain”.
Apart from this, I also believe in Prayers, networking, relationships, faith in myself and the upcoming future, and most importantly, not wasting time in planning tomorrow but working hard towards building a stronger and successful today. I also, like to reward myself every now and then to keep the momentum going.
"I’m sure this master’s program is going to help me develop personally and provide great opportunities during the course of my career."
Q: Why did you choose the Master of Food Science program? How do you see this program playing an important role going forward either in India or Australia?
A: Growing up, I wanted to join the Indian Defence Academy. However, due to various factors, I couldn’t make it through. Apart from defence, I also wanted to do something different in the field of engineering and landed my curiosity towards Bachelor’s in Food Processing and Engineering. This enlightened my interest in the field of “FOOD” and after working as a Senior Food Safety Inspector in India, I wanted to drive my passion forward towards something bigger and better, both for me as well as the upcoming generation. That’s when I came across the Masters of Food Science program in Melbourne Uni. This course has guided me in restructuring my area of interest and gaining insightful knowledge through working under various leaders in Industries and learning from their experiences. Australia, being one of the biggest sectors for Food across the world, I’m sure this master’s program is going to help me develop personally and provide great opportunities during the course of my career.
Q: What has been the most mentally stimulating class at UniMelb for you?
A: I would say, Microbiology was the most mentally stimulating subject at Unimelb throughout my master’s program. Being from an engineering background, this subject was indeed challenging. However, with the apt guidance and support from my amazing professor (Dr. Said Ajlouni), I was able to ace through the subject with ease.
Q: How do you find balance in the busy world of graduate studies?
A: Graduate studies are indeed challenging and stressful. Juggling between work and studies is a stress in itself. However, it is a different experience in itself as compared to what I’ve experienced back in India or Kuwait. Nevertheless, the level of satisfaction and joy of achievement upon completing each semester at Unimelb is tremendous.
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"I believe in giving the best of my abilities to frame my present which will in-turn reflect on my future."
Q: What’s the biggest difference between studying in India vs Australia?
A: The level of practicality and mode of education is very much different in India and Australia. Quoting the biggest difference among these, I would say studies in Australia and the course structure provided is more student-friendly wherein which, students get to choose their subjects and frame their semester accordingly based upon their interest, availability and choices. The need to work part-time apart from studies is yet another difference.
Q: You are at the end of your Master’s program journey. Practically, you are finished with your course and classes - just exams are left. Looking back at Jerrin from two years ago, how would describe your experience...how much you have developed?
A: Looking back 2 years down the line, I was an amateur who was preparing himself for the great journey ahead in the top university in Australia. I knew the path is going to be tough but this journey has strengthened me and equipped me with a great level of responsibilities, taught me to be self-sustainable, helped grow my faith in God and myself and most importantly, trained me in dealing with people from different backgrounds.
Q: So what’s next...Do you make plans? Where do you see yourself in 3 to 5 years?
A: No, I don’t make long term plans. I believe in giving the best of my abilities to frame my present which will in-turn reflect on my future. After my graduation, I aim to continue working in the chocolate factory (Manuko) where I’m currently working part-time. Meanwhile, I’ll also be keeping my options open to grab any opportunities that comes by in the near future. 3 years down the line, I see myself in a Multinational Chocolate/Dairy company as a QC/QA manager and within 5 years, I aim to collaborate with young entrepreneurs in developing new technologies in the field of food processing.
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