Mario Martin came to the University at age 35 to study for a masters in Cognitive Science. He recounts his time living in a student party flat, the friendships he made in Edinburgh, and how he's now working for an online stockbroker.
|Year of graduation||2016|
At the moment
After years in downtown Vienna, I recently moved to the suburbs, where I bought my first apartment. My weekends might be a little less exciting now, but I enjoy the simplicity of small-town life and being close to nature. All in all, I can't complain - which is rare for a genuine Viennese.
Your time at the University
Studying in the UK has always been a big wish of mine. Unfortunately, money has always been rather tight and therefore I kept postponing my studies year after year. At age 35 I thought, it’s either now or never. The University of Edinburgh has a great reputation in the field of Philosophy and since I was interested in a related field, cognitive science, going to Scotland was an instantaneous decision. Finding an apartment turned out to be harder than expected and I finally ended up sharing a subterranean apartment of a student home with five other people, each at least a decade younger than me. At the beginning I wasn’t too thrilled about this arrangement but within short time – after overcoming some language barriers - we developed a great community, and our apartment became the party hotspot for the entire student residence.
I can’t go into details, but Edinburgh is not only a great place for academic endeavours – it’s also a great place to meet people from all around the world who enjoy Deuchars IPA just as much as I did. I had a great time.
Of course, life wasn’t all fun and games. The curriculum was quite demanding, and I remember having to schedule a few party free days exclusively reserved for studying or doing one of the many assignments. It paid off, in the end I graduated with merit and enjoyed the legendary Fringe Festival to the fullest, which was the ideal final act to an overall great and life-enriching experience.
Your experiences since leaving the University
After graduation I returned to Vienna in order to work in my old occupation, software development, although at a different company.
Finding a job wasn’t that difficult and I have switched employers several times since then. At first, I tried my hand at being a software architect - as I took a software architecture course in Edinburgh. Well, I wouldn’t call this job my greatest success. The company never had a software architect before, and I haven’t worked as one either. There were different understandings of what the role of a software architect might be which led to frustration on both sides.
I switched to being a programmer at a financial institution and after that to software development in the gambling industry. The next logical step was to combine the experiences of these two jobs and start working for an online stockbroker.
Currently I’m employed as a senior software engineer at a large insurance company where we build a customer care management platform. Admittedly, this doesn’t have much in common with cognitive science, the field of my MSc, but being able to speak proper English doesn’t harm when working for an international company. I have no intentions to change my employer anytime soon – but who knows what the future holds.
It’s neither necessary nor possible to plan everything in advance. I haven’t planned living in an overpriced basement when I decided to go to Edinburgh but eventually it turned out as a lucky coincidence. My experience wouldn’t have been the same if I had stayed in an apartment on my own. I think being able to trust in one’s own abilities might be the most valuable lesson I’ve learned. This has helped me ever since. If you know who you are everything else will fall into place.