Friday, November 6, 2009

Induction Day

The day after I arrived, I went to the University to attend the Induction Day, on 8 Oct. This was the reason why I really aimed to leave Bangkok not later than 6 Oct. Thank God that my visa was released on 2 Oct after submitting it on 28 Sept.

The Induction Day was for new PhD students, or postgraduate researchers in this university. It is similar to an orientation session, organized by the Stirling Graduate Research School (SGRS). There were several speakers during the whole day event, each with a different topic related to being at the university as doctoral/postgrad researchers.

I took some notes but we were also given lots of handouts such as the Postgraduate Research Student Handbook and some useful materials from vitae. Most of the talks were summaries of the topics in the handbook. So our first assignment was to read this HB. Even though we finished reading this now I know that as time goes by we will be consulting this HB once in a while whenever we need some guidelines on doing some things. The HB contains information to guide and assist us during our time as a research student at the University of Stirling, thereby enabling us to experience a smooth process of completing our degrees (hope and pray!).

During the ID coffee/tea and lunch were provided. It gave us the opportunity to talk with others. But at the start when I first arrived, nobody really talked to me. But that did not bother me much. I just told myself that I had as much right as they have to be there. Most of the back seats were taken so I had to go choose the seat on the second row from the front. Fine with me coz I prefer sitting in front anyway. I put my bags down and then went to the back to get my hot drink. I had to walk from my building to get to this venue and I was feeling a bit cold. And that time I was just recovering from my colds. So I really needed a hot drink. There were some cookies too, which was nice; some with chocolate coating and that was even nicer!

During the first coffee break the ice had somehow been broken and we started talking with each other. Eventually most of us would meet again several times in other seminar sessions we would be attending as part of our skills training as post-grad researchers. What we talked about was mostly on where we come from, what department we belong to, and what would we research on. Actually during one of the sessions, we had a brief practice of talking with our seatmate re: our research topic in a couple of sentences only.

The programme for that day was like this:

Registration; tea & coffee
Welcome to the University
Introduction to the SGRS
What is a Research Degree?
Library Advice Session
Research Ethics
Student Development & Support Services
Introduction to the generic skills development programme
Planning your Research
Stirling U Student Association
Postgraduate Society
Sports Facilities

There were no questions asked of the speakers at the start. Probably we were all still tongue-tied or in awe with the information given, or things were clear enough there was no need to ask. Anyway during the Research Ethics session, I asked a question regarding conducting research abroad, in my case in Thailand. And it was because of this that during the break one student came to talk to me and introduced herself, because she would also be conducting research on the same project with me.

Later in the afternoon, during the remaining sessions, only a few of us were there. After this there was still some time before the close of office hours so I went to the Students Matriculation and Records Office to submit my photo for my ID card. There were lots of info during this day and it would take some time to digest them. But I think that I benefited from this session and I was sure glad that I was able to make it for the Induction Day! It was also one of the first opportunities here for me to really stop and think and tell myself of my new status: as a research student. This is quite a change from being employed, with different targets, time frame, pressure, challenges, and the like. So it was good to immerse myself right from day one with the knowledge that this is what I have to be and do for the next four years.

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