Postgraduate

Adjective

Relating to or denoting a course of study undertaken after completing a first degree.

 

I am incredibly thankful, honoured, and excited (alongside oodles of other emotions) to be back in the role as Postgraduate Representative on the UNSA SRC for the second year running.

As nerdy or fictitious as it might sound, education/study/learning, AKA the embodiment of tertiary education, is something I am incredibly passionate about. Thus, I really value my role as the Postgraduate Representative on the SRC; it posits me in a really unique and privileged position to get to know my postgraduate peers, create connections with and between them, and work towards much needed change.

 

But where did my passion stem from?

I have always loved learning, from kindergarten to the present. I appreciate how privileged I am to even have the opportunity to receive education, let alone choosing to continue my education and actually enjoying it. When I was in my honours year, it dawned on me really quickly that I was not ready to leave university and whilst I had always planned to continue my education with a masters, a PhD was never a part of my plan. In fact, I recall in my 2nd year of study during a tutorial, I explicitly said that ‘I would never do a PhD… what a waste of time’. During honours, I came to really love research; the process, the learnings, the impact. A fantastic PhD opportunity came up during my honours, which I applied for and was granted. The PhD pathway made me realise that maybe I never want to leave university; the connection was made that I could in fact work towards a career at a university. The rest is history.

 

During my years studying as a postgraduate student at UoN, I have come to really admire and appreciate the passion, determination, and drive of my postgraduate peers; it really is contagious. When you get chatting to someone about their research area, their placement, their classes, career goals, you can really feel how much they want to be here and how thankful they are, too. Events like the HDR Festival or external conferences are just some of the times when these passions flourish and are shared.

In my role with UNSA, I have the privilege of meeting with UoN postgraduates each month to chat about their experiences, concerns, suggestions and anything and everything in between. For me personally, this has been one of the most beneficial avenues in which to connect and experience the passion of my peers. If you are a postgraduate student at UoN and want to be involved in this senate in any way (whether that be attending meetings, or providing agenda items to chat to), please get in contact with me. I would love to hear from you!

 

Continuing on from my efforts last year, there are a few priority areas I am hoping to address as the Postgraduate Representative in 2023:

  1. Continue to build connections between postgraduate students:
    Postgraduate study can be isolating. Many of us do not have classes and don’t even know other students in our degree. I created a Discord server and spent time working on the social side of the HDR festival last year, but there is still more to do!
  2. Event inclusiveness:
    Last year, I was involved in various postgraduate events including the HDR festival, Doctoral wellbeing week, HDR careers week, and O-week events including speed friending. However, many of these events have a focus on PhD students. I feel there is a lot of space to expand these events to other postgraduates and even honours students.
  3. The role of supervisors:
    Supervision is often an important component of postgraduate study. However, I feel there needs to be clearer expectations and training for supervisors, and a distinct understanding for students to know what they should expect in a supervisory relationship.

For those of you reading this that are yet to have much experience in the postgraduate space, I wanted to leave you with a little Q&A run down on postgraduate life! 

Q: What degrees are classed as ‘postgraduate’?

A: Essentially, any tertiary qualification that is completed following and with the requirement of having completed an undergraduate degree. This includes PhDs, Masters, graduate diplomas and graduate certificates.

 

Q: What does a Masters typically entail?

A: This is very degree/field dependent, but it often involves some sort of specialisation in your area. This will likely involve classes, assessments, and possibly placements or even a thesis too. They generally take 1-2 years full-time to complete.

 

Q: What does a PhD typically entail?

A: A PhD may feel a little more like a job than a degree. You do not typically attend classes or have assessments; in fact you might be on the other side of things, teaching classes and marking assignments. The goal of a PhD is to complete a dissertation, which depending on your field could be anything from a research thesis to a creative writing piece. They generally take 3.5-4.5 years to complete full-time.

 

Q: Why should I do a postgraduate degree?

A: There are so many reasons! Here are some:

  •   To learn more
  •   It might be something you enjoy/want to do
  •   It might be required for your ideal job
  •   It can be really fun!
  •   Upskill
  •   Increase job opportunities
  •   Potential increase in pay
  •   New experience
  •   Make new friends
  •   Challenge yourself

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!).

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!).