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The Friday Interview: Nicole Nova

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(Image: Nicole Nova, Class of 2007)

IEG Latest News took time to sit down and chew the breeze recently with former IEG student Nicole Nova.

IEG News: How are you doing?
Nicole Nova: I'm good. Busy. I'm currently doing two degrees simultaneously: Dentistry and Biomedicine at Karolinska Institute.

IEG: Phew! We know you like to study hard, but why two?
NN: I want to do a PhD in the biomedical field rather than the dental field, and also to gain more knowledge in general medicine that can help me in my future ambition to do Oral and maxillofacial surgery.

IEG: Lots of IEG students want to do something like you're doing. Tell us about studying at university.
NN: You have to be independent. You have to plan ahead of time. Read the course book before the course starts. Make your own schedule for when you're going to go over things and learn them. Say, one to two chapters a day. It's not just about studying for the test like at gymnasium. You really have to find a method to memorise all this stuff and memorise everything in detail. You have to understand the science you're working with conceptually and in detail.

IEG: When you were at IEG you were known as a competitive swimmer. Did that really help you at university?
NN: Yes. To do a sport regularly makes you have a break in your everyday life from studying. It's necessary for the mind to relax if you're studying something so intensively. It's good not think about anything special. I think students need to use their body and their brain. I used to love the competitive part of swimming. You get a kick every time you do well and even if you don't beat your personal best every time, it's worth it trying to achieve a goal. Trying to achieve a goal is good whether it's swimming or studying science. It makes you so happy to reach the goal. But it also teaches you can't have anything. You have to learn to accept somethings.

IEG: Do you still swim competitively?
NN: No. I swim twice a week still but not everyday like before. Looking back I can see training so regularly made me more effective with my time.

IEG: You graduated IEG with MVG in everything. That was quite a feat. What's your advice to students aiming to do the same?
NN: If you don't like a subject you have to convince yourself that there is something about it that is interesting to you. Focus on that. Make it interesting and fun. Set yourself targets and goals. There's freedom to choose a lot at gymnasium and that's an integral part of motivating yourself to work hard. Find something that interests so. And also really look at the criteria. If you are not sure ask. The teachers at IEG are very happy to help.

IEG: Finally, looking back, what does IEG mean to you today?
NN: I remember it fondly. It was a relatively small school. I got to know all the students and that was great. I especially remember the assemblies. Teachers showed a different side of themselves then. Something's that really surprised us student. I guess it showed that teachers are human beings – just like the students.

I also remember that the teachers were very good at motivating students. They were some big personalities on the staff. University is very different. You go to lectures, do labs, prepare for exams. I miss the interaction of school and the active community: the talent shows. The different activities. I miss the team spirit.

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Outstanding teachers.
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