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March 12, 2018 | by  | in Opinion PGSA |
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PGSA: Postgrad Informer

Sometimes who you know is more important that what you know. A network of friends and mentors is truly valuable. Whether you are still studying as an undergrad, striving for research goals as a post-grad, or starting a career, your connections to other people will make your journey a much happier one.

University can be a pressurized experience. It’s a period in our lives when our individual academic merits are formally recorded.  Sometime we can become crushed by the weight of self-expectation. We all stumble at some point in our lives and need help to get back on our feet.

At VUW we have many opportunities to build our support networks. Friendly tutors and tutorial groups make a huge difference to our learning experience. There are also many clubs and societies that are great places to meet like-minded people. As a biotechnology PhD student I have gravitated towards Chiasma Wgtn, the VUW Science Society, and the PGSA. Over time, the friends I made through these student organizations, have left university and become outstanding members of the local science industry. My social network now contributes to my professional network as well.

The people you go through university with will become your contemporaries in the industry you are training to join. These friends and contacts are an incredibly valuable asset when you start your own career.  Here in Aotearoa we are blessed with our few degrees of separation. If you reach out to one person, they can often connect you to someone who can help you on your way.

For post-grads, it’s easy for us to become isolated in our established academic homes and avoid the surging throngs of undergrads seeking to belong. But it is the post-grads who most need to make connections, because we spend longer at university before we enter the workforce.

So, who do want to be in your network? Putting yourself out there and reaching out is the hardest part, but rest assured, your bravery will be met with good-natured Kiwi conversation.  

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