Sander_SannikFour years ago, I was very fortunate to have the professor of Analytical Chemistry at Tartu University to invite me to join the international master degree programme AMS – Applied Measurement Science. At that time I was working as an analytical chemist at a national environmental chemistry laboratory. It all started with me contacting the professor to ask for help with problems I was facing in analytical method validation and after sending few emails back and forth, he suggested me to apply for the master programme, since clearly my thirst for the topic was bigger than could be satisfied with few emails. This was no easy decision, since the university is located at Tartu and my job was in Tallinn. This meant traveling every week between the two cities. But I remember thinking: this could be once in a lifetime opportunity – no matter what, take it.

Now, I am happier than ever for taking the opportunity. Because, even if this meant a lot of hard work and studying, traveling and pushing the limits, the benefits I got from this journey weigh more than the hard times I had to live through. Knowledge and experience being the utmost important, I met lot of new colleagues and friends from the University of Tartu and from the analytical chemistry community around my homeland. More than this, I found many exciting international friends from around Europe, Africa and even Asia. One of the highlights of my journey was the international summer school of Metrology in Chemistry – Measurement of Science in Chemistry, which took place in Portugal, where I met even more international new friends, who I am still friends with today. Some of them I talk to every week now and I have been visiting them in their homelands. Last autumn, all of the students who participated met in Brussels, Belgium for a ceremonial meeting and celebrations where we received an official diploma and an extra certificate for our Master degree – EUROMASTER of Measurement Science in Chemistry.
Now, I am working at a laboratory located at my homeland. It is a daughter-company of a Finnish environmental analytical laboratory, which is a part of worldwide global environmental company. For the last 8 months, I have had a most wonderful experience to build up an analytical laboratory from the scratch. This means starting with looking up the appropriate facility and designing the rooms on papers and ending with making the last arrangements of furniture and hiring and training the laboratory staff. This is not an easy job. This cannot be studied in any school or university. This can be learned only by experience, but I am most thankful for the prerequisites I gained from my study years. There is no practice without theory. Now the laboratory is finishing developing and validating the first analytical methods to be taken into routine use and to apply for accreditation. One might say that the hardest part is over, but I somehow doubt that, because future seems even more interesting and nothing can really be interesting without being difficult at start at least.

More than ever, I can now say that the Master programme – Applied Measurement Science – was 101% meant for me: I am “applying” measurement science now every day at my workplace. I consider myself very happy and I am very thankful for my family, friends, colleagues and professor for helping me in the last few years. Knowledge is worth more than gold and I hope my story would inspire others to take risks, accept challenges and eventually catch their dreams.


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