Start Your Postgraduate Degree the WISE Way
Author Credit: Rachael McCullough, WISE Secretary
So you’ve decided to do another degree? Congratulations! Whether you’re continuing straight on from an undergraduate degree, or have had some time off from study, completing a postgraduate degree is demanding. Here are some tips to make the transition a little easier.
Get to know your cohort
Your peers are probably one of the most important factors in shaping your university experience. This is true in undergraduate degrees, but even more so in postgraduate degrees. You are now specialising even further, so it’s likely you’ll have more classes with the same group of people. Get to know them! It can be intimidating to start up a conversation with someone new in a tutorial, lecture or lab, but it’s likely that they’re keen to talk to you and make new friends too.
A lot of schools within the university also have discipline specific postgraduate student clubs. Seek them out and go along to their events, or even join the committee. There are too many to list here so check out the list of GSA affiliated clubs here! And, of course, sign up to WISE if you haven’t done so already...
Get to know your lecturers and/or supervisors
If you have a research component of your postgraduate degree, it’s important that you get along with your supervisor. You obviously don’t have to be best friends, but you need a relationship built on trust and respect. Things will go much smoother in your research project if you both put effort into articulating expectations of one another, agree on the frequency of your meetings, and set up a rough timeline for your project.
The same goes for your lecturers. Most are more than happy to meet outside lectures to answer your questions and talk more in depth about the topic. Depending on your degree, you may not have tutorials or workshops like you did in undergraduate degrees so the onus is on you to ask for help when you need it.
(Try to) keep a healthy study schedule
Whether you plan on transitioning into the workplace after your degree, or continuing on to a PhD or other study, it’s time to develop a healthy work schedule if you haven’t done so already! Everyone works differently, but it can be useful to have a regular start time for your study or research in the morning, and a ‘home’ or end time in the evening. Most workplaces will have this expectation so it’s never too early to start practicing. A healthy sleep cycle can help improve your concentration and energy levels, and make the world seem a little bit more manageable when assignments, tests and presentations are due.
Look after yourself
We all know the importance of exercise, good food and relaxation for staying happy and healthy as students. There are lots of affordable (or free!) ways to stay active at the university.
Why not check out the free group fitness classes offered at the university gym? Or perhaps sign up to the Tin Alley social netball or volleyball competition with some friends? GSA and UMSU both have a lot of free social events, such as cheap lunches on offer every Wednesday for graduate students. Why not head over to refuel and relax with some classmates?
UMSU welfare also offers free yoga and meditation classes, and free breakfasts for university students. Check them out!
And, last but not least, make sure you also come along to WISE free coffee and cakes. It’s the perfect opportunity to meet other students and refuel for the next block of study/research/experiments.
tl;dr - Make friends with the people you’ll be spending the most time with during your degree, and check out all the affordable ways to stay active and eat well at university. WISE is here to support you too, so reach out if there’s a way we can help!