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A day in the life of...Sherell Salmon

Sherell Salmon is a frequent visitor of the RAS volunteering whenever she can to help develop her confidence and gain experience to learn what it is like to work in the real world.


My days can vary from time to time. I volunteer at the Royal Astronomical Society at least once a week, where I spend my time writing blogs or doing written projects. My most recent piece of work was a blog called ‘Hidden Figures ¬– Behind the Numbers’. I was also assigned a promotional project, for which I created an extensive leaflet about Physics careers in the modern world titled ‘Sky High and Down to Earth’. The leaflet was approved, printed and handed out to pupils from secondary schools around London. When I am not sitting at a desk staring at a computer screen, I attend school visits with Sheila Kanani (Outreach and Diversity Officer of the RAS) which is usually based around astronomy. These visits are usually situated at the schools itself or sometimes on site of the Burlington House building at the RAS; which I have to say I actually feel quite jealous of the fact that children get to go on school trips to the RAS. I wish when I was in school that I would have had the luxury of attending a school trip to the ‘ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY’, I mean we did go on a lot of really cool school trips but nothing compared to the RAS. The best place we got to go to in school was the Science Museum, which is still one of my favourite places to spend my time and money.

I feel honoured to have been given the opportunity to attend the RAS on a weekly basis. Everything about being here is amazing, the building itself is so beautiful and antique. The staff members are so lovely and welcoming and I feel privileged to be able to be around such fascinating people and am able to share some of my knowledge through my writing. It would be a dream to one day get a permanent job here and feel more like part of the team. When I’m at the RAS I feel relaxed and the work I do I really enjoy, so in a way it doesn’t really feel like work which is a bonus. It helps that I feel supported and there is no pressure for me to get in super early. I have anxiety issues and travelling during rush hour is near to impossible for me so I travel to the RAS just after rush hour when it is a lot less busy and leave before the school children get out of school. I also don’t feel pressured about coming in and getting my work done. Due to my mental health a lot of the time I don’t know how I’m going to be on the day. Some days are worse than others and when I am having a bad day it is a struggle to get out of bed and communicate with the world so I feel all I have to do is send a text and it’s not a big deal if I can’t make it in. I put more pressure on myself to finish my work than anyone else and if I am not in the office I will do whatever work I am doing from home, so even though I have no set deadlines most of the time I make sure I have completed my work in an appropriate amount of time.

Due to having mental health problems, a lot of my time is spent at various appointments, assessments and groups which are supposed to help me to find ways to manage and learn to live with my issues – this is easier said than done.

I have recently applied to do a postgraduate degree in Astrophysics at either UCL or Queen Mary University so at the moment throughout every day, throughout my days I am frantically checking my email hoping that I get accepted into at least one of the universities.

Astrophysics has always been a big part of my life, and ever since first learning about space and planets at the age of 8 years old I was somehow drawn to it and from there I had never looked back. It just amazes me that there is so much more to life than us and planet earth and I love to learn about the wonders of the universe and keep up to date with all the new discovers and I would one day like to be part of an incredible discovery and impart my knowledge upon the world.



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