Friday, February 5, 2010

Getting to Know You.

If you are at all familiar with the PhD comics, then you’ll know that free food is the life-force of all post-grad students. Thus, a disproportionate amount of time is spent searching for, and acquiring, free food. Today was no exception.

First semester is fast approaching and today the psychology school hosted an Honours open day. School functions are always catered so, naturally, I inquired as to what this Honours open day was all about. Essentially, fourth-years have to submit their preferences for supervisors this Friday. It has been the case (certainly in my experience) that students only know the academics/potential supervisors that have taught them in the past. Students aren’t typically aware of just how many academics there actually are because a lot of them don’t teach. Today’s open day was designed to give students an opportunity to actually meet potential supervisors, including the ones they’d never heard of before!

Now, I’m no supervisor by any means (I’m not even a PhD student!) but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to grab complimentary grub so I came along for the ride. In my opinion the open day was a great success. Everywhere I looked small gaggles of fresh-faced Honours students were gathering around prophetic academics. The academics themselves seemed to enjoy it as much as the students. I mean, what researcher wouldn’t enjoy talking about their work to people who might happen to think it’s amazing, let alone care? Subsequently, the academics were all highly animated, pitching their work and fighting for students’ interest against other academics with extravagant hand gestures, flashy brochures, and glitzy, Web 2.0-esque presentations.

If this post was to have any sort of message it would be this. I wasn’t fortunate enough to have an opportunity such as an Honours open day when considering my supervisor preferences, and I wouldn’t be surprised if students at other universities and schools were missing out on this opportunity too. So I’d put to upcoming Honours students (in any discipline) that you should really try and get to know the academics in your school. Academics are a highly agreeable bunch and you’ll probably find one that matches your research interests and your personality.

So, a successful morning AND I got free food. Winner in my opinion.

- Morgan
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  1. shoot. i should have gone. i haven't eaten in days AND i need a secondary advisor!

  2. Great post Morgs, and I definitely agree about getting to know supervisors before honours! I think I got lucky tho...

  3. Wish I'd had that when I was going through. I selected my supervisor based on subject area and we were not a good match at all. Having a supervisor who you connect with is really important considering it's a year of your life. I'd strongly recommend meeting with a few potential supervisors prior to making a decision.