Postgraduate Rep Update: June

Kia ora koutou katoa,

With the change to level 2 I hope that those who have needed access to their lab have been able to get in and continue to make progress on their research.

I have briefly been in to Uni to collect some things that I forgot last week and I found it kind of strange being back in the office after two months of working from home. If you feel the same, just know you are not the only one.

It will take a while for some people to get used to being back on campus. For most of the students that I have talked to, returning to the campus has been beneficial to both their study and wellbeing with the welcome addition of a bit of in-person contact. I’m looking forward to seeing campus alive and buzzing again (hopefully) in the near future!

Speaking of normality, Gradfest is starting on the 8th of June! For those who have started recently (or missed it in previous years), Gradfest is a week-long event run by the Academic Skills Centre, which is full of free seminars, workshops, and social events tailored especially for postgraduate students. In my mind, attending Gradfest is a MUST! It has an amazing array of sessions from the publication process and conducting literature reviews through to giving research presentations! One exciting competition you can learn about at Gradfest is UC Puna’s inaugural Visualise Your Thesis competition. Show off your research in a one-minute video to win some awesome cash prizes! Find out more and register for an applicant pack here. This year it will be online so be sure to tune in to some sessions and make the most of it! The full schedule can be seen here.

As part of Gradfest, I will be organising an “ask a postgrad anything” panel session with a range of postgrad students who are at different levels of their research journey. The idea behind running this event is that it may not be possible to ask your future self a question, but you can ask a fellow postgrad student who has been in a similar situation! The session will cover some common questions we have heard from postgrad students, as well as open the floor up to any questions that you would like to ask a fellow student about their experience.

The Postgrad Advisory Group (PGAG) has completed its first deliverable of the year with the creation of the Postgrad Starter Pack. This wee handout packs the information we think will be key to helping new postgrad students get settled at UC as quickly as possible. You can check out the online version of the document here. We will also get some hard copies made to give out! Next we will work on trialing a system to improve the communication at the department level with the PG Champions initiative. If you are a PG rep in your department, it would be awesome if you could get in contact with me as we iron out the details.

There has been a lot of work going on behind the scenes at UC to try and work out how to reduce the impact COVID-19 has on research outputs. This is still very much a work in progress and will continue to be developed in the coming weeks. If you have been experiencing financial difficulties that will impact on your studies, make sure to get in touch with the UCSA’s Advocacy and Welfare Team for information on support options such as grants, loans and the Food Support Service.

As always, if you have any ideas on how the UCSA can improve the postgrad experience, please get in contact. I would love to hear your ideas on areas that we can improve on. Feel free to get in contact with me via email: postgraduate@ucsa.org.nz or Facebook.

Ngā mihi,

George Stilwell
Postgraduate Representative
2020 UCSA Executive

George Stilwell

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