NUPSA’s new 2018 President, Ash McIntyre, describes what we’ve been up to this month.


 

Welcome everyone (or welcome back, as the case may be) to a new year of study at the University of Newcastle! I am honoured to introduce myself as your NUPSA President for 2018, and look forward to meeting all of you throughout the coming year.

Without spending too much of your time on the logistical stuff, I’ll give a brief introduction to who NUPSA is: we are your postgraduate student association, run by students for students. Our role includes representing the University of Newcastle’s postgraduate student body on a national level, and communicating issues that impact the postgraduate student experience to government and advocacy bodies to ensure your voice is always heard.

We also provide individual support for all postgrad students, and liaise regularly with the Deputy Vice-Chancellors, the Dean of Students, and other bodies within the University to follow up on issues and concerns raised by students, and improve your experience at UoN.

Finally, we run multiple workshops and social events to help provide you with extra tools to do your research and maintain your work/life balance! For more details about who we are, to meet our executive, and to check out our calendar of upcoming events, have a squiz at our website at nupsa.edu.au.

It has been an incredibly busy month for NUPSA as we kick off the new year, planning activities for upcoming festivals on campus such as O-Week (February), International Women’s Day (March) and Harmony Day (also in March). We have run several Shut Up and Write boot camps, and more recently, our first ever Shut Up and Write online session! We have held two movie screenings, planned our first run of workshops, and inducted our brand new Executive members.

 

Our January Shut Up and Write Boot Camp in the Clubhouse, Callaghan campus.

 

We have also been working to replace our dear Student Representative Support Officer, Ellie (who we wish the very best in her Sydney life!), brainstormed some new and exciting events and workshops, recommenced the endless slew of meetings, and hired a new advice columnist! Click here to see her column and get some hot tips on postgrad life.

The theme of this month’s newsletter, Adapting to Change, is certainly one I can speak to. After a few weeks of guilty relaxation over Christmas and New Year’s, I have moved from Research Representative of two years to NUPSA President! I am just starting the third year of my PhD in Critical Literature, learning the presidential ropes, and have my first experience teaching a course this year – 2018 is certainly a year of change for me.

It is true, however, that the postgraduate experience is one characterised by change. I can think of few other undertakings that necessitate as much growth and change in an individual as higher degree research. There are those expected changes, such as the transition from directed to self-directed study, living to a stricter budget, changing your research topic as new results and ideas come through, learning to write and communicate clearly and with purpose. But there are also other, far more surprising changes that occur throughout this process, as you will certainly discover.

It has been truly inspiring to read your article submissions this month (with the added excitement of having NUPSA’s highest article submission rate on record!), and I encourage all of you to keep sharing these experiences with each other throughout the year. The unique nature of postgraduate study recognises fundamental traits in participants such as adaptability, pursuit of knowledge, curiosity and, of course, that special degree of insanity needed to undertake such an enormous project! It is all too easy to isolate yourself under mountains of papers, books and the pressure of some of these changes, but I urge you to continue connecting with your fellow postgrads, and embrace the rollercoaster of postgrad life!

On that corny-but-hopefully-somewhat-inspirational note, the last thing I will say to you (saving the best ‘till last) is that at this time of year, where NUPSA is planning our events for the coming months, your input is particularly valuable. NUPSA endeavours to improve and diversify your university experience to make it as memorable and rewarding as possible. Your thoughts and ideas help us to achieve this, so if there is anything you would like to see from us, send us an email at nupsa@newcastle.edu.au and we will see if we can make it happen!

So, enjoy your initiations to a new year at UON, and again, welcome back! I am so excited to be representing you as NUPSA President 2018, and can’t wait to meet you all in the coming months 😊.

 

Ash McIntyre
NUPSA President

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