Kia ora whanau! Welcome to my column. I’m Brodie (obviously), a postgrad student, here to hopefully help you make sense of uni, adulthood, and life in general. I’m by no means an expert at this whole ‘adulthood’ thing, but I’ve gotten pretty good at pretending I know what I’m doing. This week’s theme is people, so I want to talk about some crucial people you’re going to meet at uni—lecturers. This sounds obvious, right? You’re paying shitloads of money to learn the ways of the world from them, of course they’re important. But bear with me.
Lecturers are so much more than people who drone on about things you never knew existed, and people who cannot for the life of them figure out technology. They’re passionate, intelligent, and generous people. So befriend them, ask about their research, current projects, and what-not. Chances are they’ll see your excitement and will be willing to discuss their work with you. There’s definitely no need to try and befriend them immediately after your first lecture, but if you find yourself getting more and more interested in their work as the class progresses then go have a chat!
Befriending lecturers I admire opened up a world of opportunities, interesting discussions, and Dad jokes about my field. Especially the ones I had academic crushes on. I’ve been known to take a course purely because I’d read a lot of research from the lecturer, and y’know what? It worked out well—I had a great semester, learnt heaps, and gained support and friendship from the lecturer.
A tipsy banker recently encouraged me—repeatedly—to find a mentor, and while the advice was very earnest and well meant, my initial reaction was to have a bit of a giggle about it with my flatmates. While I am uncomfortable with the idea of formally asking someone to be my mentor, the academics I have befriended all fill this role in an informal sense. They have given me invaluable advice about academia, which is really great when you’re about to enter post-grad and have a million questions such as: “How do I format my thesis?” / “What if I get bored of my topic?”
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P.S. I’m still seeking answers to these questions, let me know if you can help.