As a research student, I was told that support and guidance from the departments at the university is crucial, be it physical, emotional or spiritual support and I find it extremely true. I believe that it is better to prepare and make possible mistakes early rather than making the mistakes in the later phase of my study. That is why I try to get/gain as much input as I can in the beginning phase of my study. I am very glad to say that the University of Sussex provides a lot of support organised by different departments and they are overwhelming.
I especially love the support and guidance provided by the Library, Doctoral School and the school. This is a list of my favourite support and guidance for research students.
I love going to the library. It is one of my favourite places to hang out and do my work. There are plenty of PCs/Macs that I can use for my research. And I like the fact that my account is synced on the PCs/Macs anywhere on campus. In the library, other than the massive amount of books and journal articles, I love the fact that the library provides us with support and guidance which are essential and especially only for research students, for example, Research Hive, one-to-one support and a lot of other workshops and seminars which support various research skills such as literature searching. To book for a place on the workshops and seminars is very simple. I did talk about it here: https://youtu.be/NGWnba3yOtw. These workshops and seminars provide opportunities for many research students to mingle and share their research (which are interdisciplinary).
Research Hive is also located on the top floor of the library building. This space is only available for academic researchers and research students. There are also PCs/Macs available for use within the space. There are also two group study rooms which are available to be used. In each of this room, there is a PC. I’ve used this space several times for interviews and focus group discussions. They are spacious and suitable for these reasons. The Research Hive Scholars are also very helpful. They organized many academic activities related to research, research students and academic researchers. My favourite, much-anticipated and must participate activities are inductions, photo competition, Shut-Up and Write sessions. During the induction, I get to meet current and new research students and share my experiences, be it about academic or personal with them. These types of sharing sessions are very fulfilling. The scholars also organize Shut-Up and Write session once a month. This session helps us to get our writing done and at the same time getting our much-needed break over coffee.
- Doctoral School
Other than the library, the Doctoral School also provides support and guidance for research students especially in terms of developing and improving our research skills and writing skills. The Research Development Programme covers a varied/wide range of skills for both science and arts and humanities research students and in both qualitative and quantitative research. Although I love all the workshops and seminars I attended, my most favourite one, which I would definitely recommend for every researcher (no matter what stage you’re in), is the Effective Researcher workshop. The input given is overwhelming and extremely helpful to organize and manage my research work, research progress, research development, research data, well, basically my research. The facilitator also gives us the opportunity to plan ahead on what I plan to do for my personal research plan.
I believe that getting support from the school is also important. The school I am attached to provides detailed information and shares relevant activities with all the members. Weekly or monthly seminars are organized to provide opportunities to research students to get updated information or share current research by both academics and research students, both from the university, department or from other universities.
These sharing sessions provide us with new information and they help us to keep updated with the latest research in the field. They also provide opportunities to mingle with other research students of the same field of study. The research coordinators also share information on possible research funding, conference funding and upcoming conferences.
In short, all the opportunities are provided and it’s up to us to grab them! 🙂
Zurina Khairuddin is a Malaysian student who is currently studying for a PhD in Linguistics.