Something that became painfully apparent to me as a student going straight from an undergraduate degree into a postgraduate degree is the change in dynamics. Things suddenly feel a lot more real and the aspects of fun that were experienced during undergraduate study were nowhere to be found. As a PhD student, I felt like I went from a super manageable and balanced life straight into a full-time job (for a lot less money and with a lot of additional pressures). For the past year and a half this thought has clung to me as I have plodded through my dual role as a PhD student and academic staff at UoN.

It was when I became the Postgraduate Students’ Senate Convenor (PSSC) at UNSA earlier this year that I realised this was something that needed to be addressed. Unfortunately, I was at a loss as to how to actually go about this and see resolute change university wide. Thankfully, the stars must have aligned as it seems that UoN was thinking along the same lines as I, and many others at the university.

The announcement of the HDR festival to be held in late June came as both a relief and a bout of excitement; it seems our needs are being heard (and my job just got a little less tricky). Unfortunately, this week-long event is more positioned towards PhD students at UoN, but having this expanded to be more inclusive to UoN postgraduates is certainly a key point to try and progress for future years.With that said I hope all the HDR students at UoN are just as excited as me about the festival and I hope to see you all there. However, if you are reading this and wondering what in the world I am talking about, take a look below for some of the details, and many more things we can hope to see across the week:


The Details

When: The festival is running from Monday the 27th of June (yep – this month!) until Friday July 1st

Where: Events will be held across various campuses over the week (including Callaghan, Ourimbah, and the City) so keep your eye out for the schedule

Who for: HDR students of UoN

Who by: Graduate Research is taking the lead on this event with some assistance from UNSA

Other: Keep your eye out for specific events being run by your school during the week

Academic Events*

There will be a bunch of different events across the week that pertain to your study and career progression, which include:

  • 3-Minute Thesis heats
  • Research posters
  • Informational sessions
  • Networking
  • Workshops, including a fantastic Mental Health workshop being run by Batyr

The Fun*

Your individual schools will hopefully be running their own events that encompass some of the fun we deserve, but also keep your eye out for events like:

  • Paint (your research) and Sip
  • Family friendly movie night
  • Speed friending


*Events are not concrete and may alter by the festival date


I hope to see you there – but whilst I have you here, just one more thing! As I mentioned earlier, I am the PSSC this year and I really want to represent the interests of postgraduates at UoN. I have been trying to gauge the thoughts and experiences of postgraduates at UoN and I would love to hear from you. If you have a few spare minutes, please complete the following survey so I can do my best to work towards what you want from postgraduate study: 

Tegan Stettaford

Tegan Stettaford

Hello! My name is Tegan and I joined the Opus team in 2021 as an outlet to escape my PhD writing. I am yet to find my niche category, but you can probably expect pieces about postgraduate life, creativity, psychology, literature and all things cute and fuzzy. Outside of Opus and my PhD, I am also a peer mentor, team leader, tutor, and sessional academic (so you might just see me in class sometime!).