Studying for a post-graduate degree can be a bitter-sweet experience; Despite the excitement of the fact that you are doing research you care for and love, and the prospect of a higher degree, it is also a time of taking responsibility, working hard, dealing with stress, and facing a lot of bumps in the road. However, this does not mean that you should lock yourself in the lab and never see the sun until the date of your viva!
Getting a Masters or a Doctoral degree is something that is easier to do with the help of friends and colleagues. Some of whom can even assist you in your research; here are some of the groups and societies I wished I knew about sooner when I started my PhD:
- PGSoc : This society, within the students’ union, organises social events tailored for post-graduates from all disciplines, from pub quizzes to Peak district hikes, you are guaranteed to find something suitable to your liking, and make some good friends along the way. Link to the Facebook group
- The Doctoral Academy: If you need to network with other researchers within the university, whether from your own discipline or another field, then the Doctoral Academy is where you should go, it provides a virtual platform where you can share experiences and collaborate with the diverse research community. If you want to ask a question or announce something to all post-graduates in the university, you can easily send an email to them all using the Discussion Space platform, provided you are a registered post-graduate member of the university.
- Post Graduate Committee: This students’ union committee aims to bring together all the other post-graduate networks and forums, acting as an information hub, and providing support for issues such as housing and welfare, representation, campaigning and student voice. You can keep in touch with the committee through the Facebook page (University of Sheffield Postgraduate Committee).
- Your departmental/ Faculty post-graduate society: Almost every department within the university now has its own post-graduate society. Those societies aim to introduce researchers within the same department to each other through fun social activities, if you are just starting your first year and do not know anyone, make sure to not miss these events, as it will introduce you to the people you see in the hall as you go to the lab for the next four years!
In the end, it is up to you to choose what sort of activities you can manage to include in your busy post-graduate work schedule. However, in a university that have over three –hundred registered societies, and countless development and training programs; Hopefully by the time you finish, you can bask in both the glory of the degree you obtained, and the invaluable experiences and connections that were made while studying in Sheffield University.