Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Induction & Workshops

This post is a couple of days late because I’ve spent the last two days at different induction-type workshops and I wanted to write about them.

Research Services at Deakin offers a range of HDR (Higher Degree by Research) Workshops of varying lengths of which I’ve decided to avail myself. This is in addition to the Faculty-specific “Induction Session” which I’ll be heading to next week—I’ll let you know how that goes since the confirmation email I received today indicated there was to be me and one other HDR candidate in attendance (with sessions run by the Faculty HDR coordinator and two members of staff from the library—3 Deakin staff to two candidates, hardly seems a valuable use of their time.)

But back to the workshops for this week. Monday I trundled down to Burwood for the second part of “Induction” titled ‘life as a research student’ (I missed part 1 called ‘procedures and support’ which I’ll try to catch when they run it again at the end of November.) The presentations covered the skills one can expect to gain by completing a PhD; analogies for the process of undertaking a PhD; and some warnings (like you’ve got 1000 days to write 100,000 words—which if you’re good at maths, doesn’t sound too bad but I’m concerned about the other words you have to write and all the ones you have to read to be able to get out that final 100 per day.) But my favourite thought came from one of the ex-students: that the write up is “like having a bath in broken glass, you know you have to do it but you just don’t want to get in.” I’m not sure that I’ve ever been in a situation where I thought I “had to” take a bath in broken glass but I think I get his point.

Tuesday (was that really only yesterday?) saw me hiking down to Waurn Ponds for “Critical Thinking”. I was to discover that this massive campus (the existence of which I had been previously unaware) was the original Deakin campus back in the days when it was dubbed ‘the super TAFE’. Here's a map so you can see it too. My session was in 'na' building so I had the opportunity to drive all the way through the campus to get there (and then round & round for a while to find a parking spot!)

The critical thinking session was mostly related to developing a Literature Review which will be [one of] the first things on my list. The Lit Review has to be completed as part of my Confirmation of Candidature which has been set for the 14th of June, 2013 (and I’m already nervous). There was a lot of interesting & helpful discussion as well as an opportunity to meet with other HDRs, some new, some not-so-new.

These HDR workshops (although far away) are free and I’m going to try to get to as many as I can. I’ll keep you posted… I’m off to hop in the bath (water, not broken glass!)

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