First Meetings, Tours, Induction Week and Active Freshers.

Start of Induction Week (Monday)

Well I met up with my principle supervisor and the some of the department for coffee today. They seem like a nice and varied group; Polish, Italian, German, English and Australian (supervisor) researchers to categorise a few. Discussing general things over coffee, I got onto the subject of sports – my supervisor joked about my expectation in having free time for such things and through brief conversation with the fellow PhDs I discovered they were very busy with their work. Assuming that I shall meet the same fate of having too many things to do in too little time, I feel less guilty about my relaxed time before I begin work properly.

I had a brief tour around the department courtesy of my supervisor giving some updates and general information about the various projects. It’s all terribly interesting stuff and has spurred me to start reading up on some of the basic principles behind mechanical engineering.

As of writing this section, Induction Week is officially to start tomorrow and with it several days of presentations covering; the challenges of PhD to, health and safety. I’m not expecting much excitement from some presentations but I guess I should attend incase something important crops up and at the very least scout out my fellow researchers across the Faculty.

End of Induction Week (Sunday)

Induction Week for Postgraduate Research Students was informative. Over the past four days, the presentations consisted of general welcomes and introductions to library and IT services. One of the most pointless presentations I’ve ever sat through was the health & safety – speaking about common sense things like how to see at your computer for work.

One of the greatest aspects I noticed is the amount of support and opportunity to be involved with extra roles as a PhD. I’ve been exposed to several PhD-only meet ups, support services and workshops which seem extremely useful to attend. I’m being peppered with publishing opportunities and support, demonstrator/assistant opportunities, PGR coffee mornings, guest lectures and PhD workshops – many of which have refreshments provided, which is nice! One of the roles I decided to opt with early was a note taking for students with difficulties/disability – make some extra money, help some students in science and potentially sit in on some applicable undergrad lectures for background knowledge. It’ll probably be interesting either way as one of the courses I may note take for is Automotive Engineering.

Also during the week, I met fellow newbie PhDs. We met sometime in the morning after a presentation and pickup by our research centre administrator who then gave us a little tour of our respective offices distributed throughout the building.

Note: I’ve been doing a lot of walking these past two weeks!!! My poor shoes. New plan – keep smart shoes in the office and walk in trainers, duh!

Had a meeting on Friday afternoon with my supervisor to start building a picture about my role, research direction and ironing out some official errands i.e. forms. Generally, I wanted to gauge any structure, expectations and ideas he had for me before suggesting I attempt to sort myself out. My timetable for example is very flexible – no specific hours of work but he recommends working in university each day which is what I planned to do. And I’ll be starting out by reading recent publications by the department and immersing myself within the new environment – after my meeting with my supervisor and talking to my dad, I’m thinking about approaching the early stages with a completely open mind, ready to absorb everything new around me. The philosophy is that I believe I won’t have a clear long term goal for quite a while and without such, there’s no way I can know where to focus my efforts. Therefore I am greatly broadening my attention.

Fresher’s Fayre was on Friday and I signed up to a select few clubs; Badminton (of course), Tennis, Squash, Garden Society, Mountaineering and Electronics & Amateur Radio. Later I signed up to Golf via email. I was thinking the electronics club would be pretty useful for my work in gaining invaluable knowledge for funky space projects.

Sunday was my full on sports day consisting of hours of rock climbing after which were badminton team trials. I finally did some climbing by rope with the assistance of a belayer so I reached several floors worth of height. The badminton trials went fine I believe and successful players should receive an email invitation to the second round of trials – here’s hoping.

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