Do you remember starting your PhD? On my first day, I remember being shown my new desk, sitting down… then promptly realising I had no idea what to do or where to start! Thankfully, neither did my new office mates, so we took ourselves on a walk around campus instead!
As things stand, we cannot predict what the start of term will look like this September, but we can do everything possible to extend a huge virtual welcome to all our new PGR students. To do this, we’re asking for your help!
We would like to offer all our new PhD students a PGR buddy. The buddy scheme is part of a package of support for new PGR students who might never have been to York (or the UK), and who may feel even more distanced than the rest of us at this time.
So, you might be wondering what exactly a buddy does? And, hopefully, how you can get involved?
What is a buddy?
A buddy is someone who has been there before, who can provide a friendly welcome and act as a point of contact to help new PGRs integrate into the University of York culture and community. Think how good it would be to receive an email and hangout, Zoom or Facetime from someone who knows what you’re going through.
Buddying is an informal relationship, often short-term and focussed on the present. You’re not expected to be friends for life (but you can be if you want!). A buddy can support and help new PGRs settle into the University, signpost information and support, and introduce them to department contacts and peer networks where possible.
How can I get involved?
If you are an existing or recently graduated PGR student from York and you feel able to help a new student settle in, please complete an expression of interest form.
Following this, you’ll be provided with information and online training to help you best support your buddy. We’ll make a number of resources available to you including interactive campus maps and a virtual cafe hangout space.
And finally, you might reasonably be wondering, what’s in it for me? Volunteering is a great way of making new friends, connecting with the community and learning new skills. Volunteering in this role demonstrates civic duty, it shows you’re a team player with emotional intelligence, empathy and a creative approach to problem solving. In the current climate, we all need something to make us feel useful and valued; buddying can help with that.
For further information please check out this page about the PGR buddy scheme.
Francina Clayton (Researcher Developer, RETT)