6 July 2018: Editorial
Kia ora Vic Postgrads,
My name is Leo and I am the newest member of the PGSA executive team. Looking back at editorials from earlier this year, there is a theme of ‘coping’ or ‘dealing’ with your postgraduate studies. I would like to head into unchartered water and talk about conferences!
Earlier in July a study cohort from SGEES had the pleasure of attending the NZGS/IAG 2018 conference in Auckland. Although this has been my first conference, I have found that conference attendance has broken the monotony of the postgraduate journey and has left me with a renewed sense of purpose and drive to get back into the books/field/computer seat and get working.
This conference (and I am sure I speak for many others) was full of a variety of academics, activists and all round interesting people who proved to be great at sparking off each other, testing new ideas and adept at critiquing results and research approaches. For many of us, the postgraduate journey may seem monotonous and lonely with tangible results and/or successes seemingly perpetually out of grasp.
It is refreshing to meet new people (or academic heroes) who although may not be working in an area tangentially related to your field, they may offer new insights and perspectives that can inspire, and send us off in new directions. Although this didn’t necessarily wholly happen to me (networking is a skill #amirite) but for others in my cohort, this was certainly evident.
Before the conference I had heard how highly regarded presentations from Victoria students are. I was not sure what to expect before the conference but I can confirm that we all presented very well, much to the audience’s appreciation and in stark contrast to presenters who simply read verbatim from a script. I think that is a testament to the quality of education at Victoria, and the emphasis placed on good presentation structure and etiquette.
And this is not to say that conference preparation and presentation is without angst, because of course they are – but conferences are an excellent way to connect with others and talk about what is important in our fields whilst honing important skills for later in our careers. I would like to conclude this editorial by saying that there is light at the end of the tunnel! This light may be in the form of conferences, presentations, or visiting scholars.
I think it is important to actively seek out these events, even if they are slightly out of your area of inquiry, as one might leave feeling much the wiser (and refreshed) after escaping the office and talking to real people!
Go well and good luck!