After having a gap year and experiencing the media sector, I was very excited to get back to my studies as a postgraduate. I was looking forward to being in a new city and new university, and meeting new people. Even more so, learning about a specific subject I was really interested in seemed like the icing on the cake. I was ready to experience it all. So, I decided to come to York approximately three weeks before my studies began. The main purpose was to attend the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) Welcome Week.
The University of York is one of very few universities that has a postgraduate student association (which I found very interesting). The GSA family welcomed us with an amazing talk. They basically told us that doing a postgraduate degree can be difficult; but that they would support us in a lot of ways. Enriching our social lives was just one of those things. They provided us with a lot of information about the University and how we can make the most out of our time here.
Inspiring trips away
Being a part of a student association myself (Erasmus Student Network), I was more than happy to be on the receiving end of it! I tried to attend most of the events they had planned for us and it was amazing. My favourites were the retro night (we played laser tag), the pub crawl (where I actually visited the pub that would later become my usual) and of course the Harrogate and Knaresborough trip. I did not know how expensive travelling was in the UK so, hadn’t realised how decent the price of the trip was. Knaresborough is one of the most beautiful and magical places I have ever been to. Once I checked out the prices of the tickets (as I was planning to take my parents there), I realised that the GSA trips were actually the best way I could travel around.
GSA postgraduate events
There are GSA events every week; one of them being a pub quiz on a Monday night. It takes place in a pub on campus, which makes everything easier. If you have had a productive day you can treat yourself with a pub quiz! You can socialise with other postgraduate students from different departments. During your studies it may be hard to find time to socialise with people outside of your department. The GSA events give you an amazing chance to do so. Most of the people I spend my spare time with are actually people that I met during the welcome week events.
Getting involved with a society
There are actually a lot of societies too, from the Hummus Appreciation Society to the Feminist Society. If you are feeling homesick, or just want to speak your native language, then why not join one of the ethnic societies? There is something for everyone. When I was wandering around the stands of the societies during the Welcome Week, I realised that I belonged here. There were so many societies and clubs that I could see myself fitting into.
I guess you all know how hard it can be to adapt to a new environment where you do not know anyone, or anything as a matter of fact! So, having societies or student associations (such as the Graduate Students’ Association) helps you to realise that you can create your own new environment just the way you want it. It stops being scary and it starts being interesting. I don’t know if that would be possible for me if it were not for the GSA and the student societies, but I am happy that it was. You can still have so much fun during your postgraduate studies!