Practical tips for postgraduate students

Postgraduate life can be fantastic but sometimes the going gets tough and a strategic plan is required to keep everything ticking along:

1)  Master the inter-library loan system.

The inter-library loan system is something of an art, different books can take different lengths of time to arrive but it is the best way of obtaining books outside the Hive’s central collection. Ordering inter-library loans way ahead of times means that you can plan for all occasions

Undergraduates might occasionally use the inter-library system but it is postgraduates who will truly master it as your research will go into much more depth.

2) Work on assessments out-of-hours and take advantage of the postgraduate student space.

One of the big advantages of being a postgraduate is you make your own timetable. This means you are not sandwiched often between lectures like other students. Instead, you can use the computers at whichever hours you decide to avoid the noisy period. Most submissions are electronic anyway but choosing the hours you visit IT rooms or the library means you can tailor your own experience.

The other big advantage of being a postgraduate student is you have a special study space in the Jenny Lind building this is a handy and quiet area.

3) Get food and advice from going to postgraduate meet ups.

Postgraduate student forums can be a good place to get tips from other postgraduates and as a nice bonus they often have food and snacks to sustain you if you have a long night of studying ahead. This will help satisfy both your physical and psychological needs.

The postgraduate experience is a step up from that of undergraduate and some of the assessments might confuse you at first, so getting advice is always useful.  Postgraduates don’t have many lectures together as a group compared to undergraduates so a forum is your opportunity to meet your peers in an informal setting.

These meetups are also ways to learn about different opportunities and that might relate to your postgraduate work.

4) Back up your memory sticks several times over.

You need to take care of your memory stick as a malfunction can lead to an awful lot of stress. The best thing to do is to back up your memory stick several times and on other memory sticks. Nothing is ever foolproof but this will make your research a lot more secure. Postgraduates will store entire theses for long periods of time, so keeping them in good order is essential. Keeping memory sticks in plastic wrap is one way to prevent any liquid spills doing any damage.

5) Follow the postgraduate handbook.

If in doubt, follow the postgraduate handbook on your Blackboard page. It sets out procedures for dealing with anything that might go wrong. The postgraduate guide gives general and quite specific advice when that is needed.

6) Book an appointment with the writer in residence at the University

It is very helpful if you’re a postgraduate to have someone else look dispassionately at your work. This is what is excellent about the writer in residence as they can see where your train of thought goes off subject. The writer in residence are all very experienced and the appointments are very effective. Book quickly though as the appointments can soon become fully booked!