The start of a new academic year brings fresh ideas and new blood to the universities in the UK and elsewhere in the English speaking world. Lots of you are settling in just now and realising the huge task that awaits you before you experience the jubilation of donning your graduation gowns. Despite the daunting year (or four) that awaits, this is an exciting time. I am excited about the opportunity help out the many international students who worry that there written English might put their chances of success in jeopardy, via my website. I really am - as I am mainly working on PhDs and journal articles at this time of year and late dissertations I am really looking forward to receiving some new shorter works by the incoming Masters students, and excited to see what different subjects I will have the opportunity to learn about this year! It is also a good time for me to get back to blogging, and to introduce newer readers to things they should consider now that they have begun studying in a new country and a different academic culture . . .
Now you are not only reading about, planning and working out the practicalities of studying for your next degree - you are actually doing it. Whether you are embarking on a Masters or PhD programme people will be offering you advice at every turn. There will be societies to join, social activities to partake in, friends to make, places to see and many new things to get used to. There are numerous blogs and student support services that you can (and should) visit to help you make a smooth transition into British academic culture.
I also have some tips for you and would encourage former students to leave their own:
- Do consider social networking online - even if you haven't done this much before - it can be a great way to keep in touch with other students on your course, as well as any friends and family you've left behind.
- Many Postgraduate courses involve minimal contact time at the university itself so do make the effort in the early weeks to 'physically attend the university' - in particular get used to the library - learn about the computer systems and meet the staff.
- Take advantage of any support offered by experienced students - they can give you advice about supervisors, bookshops, rules and regulations, etc.
- Join a group of like minded students - every dissertation and PhD that I proofread or edit acknowledges the friends the author made on their course - they will understand what you are going through better than anyone else.
- Enjoy yourself!!
Do also use a proof reader if you are worried about your English and also ask about how to cite and reference properly (the topic of my next post) following your university conventions - it is easy to fall behind if you are struggling with (or feel anxious about) your English. So many students only find a proofreader when it comes to dissertation and realise that they had been missing out on a great opportunity to improve their grades, and learn about academic writing.
Do note that I sometimes have tips and offers on my Facebook page.
Finally enjoy your University experience and come back and visit my blog any time.