James Pinkerton, President of NUPSA, gives his monthly update.


 

Winter has finally come. (And I’m not referencing the latest season of Game of Thrones, though I’m quite a few seasons behind). With the arrival of the cold snap comes the dreaded exam period, which seems so cruel.

For all of those students about to undergo your exams (or in the throes of them already), I wish you luck. I find that, during these tough exam periods, studying with friends is an effective way to revise your lecture material. It’s always good to bounce ideas off each other in a group setting.

And always ensure you have an effective way to destress. For me that involves playing basketball, but for you it may mean relaxing with a book or having coffee with friends. Either way, it’s really important to maintain a work/life balance during this time, ensure you get enough sleep and stay hydrated. These steps will (hopefully) ensure you master your exams and do a fantastic job.

 

The weather is nippy, and so are the ghouls.

 

For all of us here at NUPSA, it has been another busy month as we settle into the middle of the year. May saw the launch of our 3-Minute Thesis training sessions, which our very own Project Officer, Hugh Milligan, designed and presented.

For those of you that are unaware, the 3-Minute Thesis Competition (which began life at the University of Queensland in 2008) involves summarising that complex 80,000-word beast in a three-minute presentation. If this sounds challenging, that’s because it is, but the ability to summarise and distil your thesis into three minutes is a fantastic opportunity to get to the ‘heart’ of your thesis and neatly fine-tune your research question.

It also presents an opportunity to promote your work to a lay audience, to potential industry partners and alumni, and help promote your research and its importance through the local and wider Newcastle community. So definitely consider getting involved, or if you’re not quite sure yet, come to the 3-Minute Thesis finals to get a taste of the competition (and glimpse some of the amazing postgraduate talent around you).

 

To present an 80,000-word thesis, they say, would take nine hours. You have three minutes.

 

This month also saw NUPSA hold a social event for postgraduate students at UON Sydney. This (to the best of my knowledge) was the first social event of its kind at UON Sydney and will certainly not be the last. I would like to thank the cohort of students who came and enjoyed the event.

It was a great opportunity for students to relax, socialise and network with their peers. It was also fantastic to meet some keen advocates for UON students at Sydney, and we hope to see some affiliated student clubs soon. I would like to thank the UON Sydney staff for showing us around the campus and helping facilitate the event.

 

Classy times at the Verandah Bar in Sydney.

 

We recently observed Reconciliation Week (May 27 – June 3), which aims to celebrate and build on the respectful relationships shared by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.

These two dates, May 27 and June 3, mark significant milestones in 2017: the 50th anniversary of Australia’s most successful referendum, which saw 90% of Australians vote to give the Commonwealth the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and recognise them in the national census; and the 25th anniversary  of the landmark Mabo decision in 1992, which legally recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a special relationship to the land, which helped pave the way for land rights or native title.

As we commemorate these landmark events, we must remember that we have a significant part to play as members of the university community. It is extremely important that we adhere to the Indigenous strategy highlighted by Universities Australia, which seeks to “increase the numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people participating in higher education as students, as graduates and as academic and research staff; increase the engagement of non-Indigenous people with Indigenous knowledge, culture and educational approaches; and improve the university environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people”.

 

To find out more from the official Reconciliation Australia website, click the image above.

 

The numbers of indigenous students in the postgraduate student space are disproportionately lower than their non-indigenous peers, and improvements in this space will help ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students have equal access to postgraduate study.

Lastly, I would like to welcome our new NUPSA Satellite Representative, Samarth Ullal, from UON Sydney. Samarth is a passionate UON Sydney postgraduate student and I look forward to his involvement with NUPSA in 2017.

As always, I hope you are all well.

James

 

Contact James at james.pinkerton@uon.edu.au.

 

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