So campus has been slowly gearing up for the return of the undergraduates. This week international students have been arriving and next week Fresher’s begins, so it’s starting to get busier again. A lot happens in the undergraduate summer break, building work goes on and the campus is generally spruced up (they’ve been painting the walls of the Adrian building over the last few weeks), but now the scaffolding is coming down, the SU has been revamped and the painting is (mostly) finished. I’m dreading the morning Starbucks queues when everyone is back.
Just after the undergraduates arrive back the new Post-grads will also be joining the university. So hello everyone, come on in, make yourselves at home and get ready for an onslaught of induction sessions. You might arrive at campus having no idea what you’ll be doing your first week but don’t worry that will be fixed quickly. You’ll find yourself with graduate school inductions, departmental inductions and college level inductions. For me I had a Genetics/Biology induction on my first day here, then in the next 1-2 days the Graduate school events and then towards the end of the week/start of my second week I had college level inductions. If I’m honest I wish the order was a little different but I also understand it might be difficult to arrange. The problem is heading into that huge room for the Graduate school induction with A LOT of people you don’t know can be daunting, especially when you realise there is a coffee break to “get to know people”. I’m not brilliant in those situations, they intimidate me. I managed to get chatting to one very nice girl, but it turned out she wasn’t able to stay for the whole induction, fail. So advanced warning the graduate induction can seem scary but it is worthwhile as you get a lot of important information.
The best sessions for me were the college sessions, this is were I started actually meeting people, knowing we were in the same college gave us a common interest and it was much easier to talk to people. In those first two weeks we did training sessions and one person cleverly set up a facebook group for us all (thanks Zoe 🙂 ). This is were I met my university friends outside of my lab. Meeting people as a post-grad student is an entirely different thing to when you’re an undergrad, undergrads are generally thrown together in a house or on a course and friendships bloom (ahhh the undergrad life). As post-grads we’re much more separated, we’re unlikely to live together and bar some training courses we don’t actually see each other that often as we’re based in different buildings and different floors. I was the only first year PhD student in my lab to start when I did so didn’t have anyone to hold my hand at all these induction events.
I have of course made friends and don’t want you to think you’re going to be alone for the next 3/4 years, you’re not! Just remember that this experience is much more like starting a job than it is beginning an undergraduate degree. Meeting and getting to know people will happen with time.