Any Induction week reflections to share?

Yes . . . a late submission. Thanks for the submissions of other colleagues. My experiences were similar too. Just another version.

Bona’s recollections of the 2013-2014 Induction Week

Hi all,

I guess Richard’s request for us to share our reflections of the Induction week is probably related to the SEED/MIE version in the last of the nearly two weeks Induction process that I experienced. I shall stubbornly make a mix, with those in the first week and the less academic bits in the second week too.

Yes, the nearly two weeks induction is indeed history – except, sometimes things feel like I am replaying some of the feelings, thoughts, and experiences anew.

The first week was really like getting to know your university and the city in which it is. Even though I am an alumnus here, I told myself right from the beginning that I would go through everything – as long as the schedules did not clash. I am grateful I did so. Fore even in the Campus Tour, I learned new things about the same ol’ buildings I’d seen a couple of years ago – some of their history and related personalities after which they were named; what happens in some of them; how I might make use of them, etc. Of course, the Alan Gilbert Commons – the face about the uni is a super addition of study space and more.

On Wednesday 18 September, I passed by the Start of Year Fair. I had never seen a thing like it . . . well, I didn’t do it the first time I was here. And so it was, that I found myself in a see of human mass milling past stands . . . If you didn’t go there, I bet you have no idea what the community associated with the University of Manchester has to offer or what the students body is up to when it comes to societies, and the kinds of service- and product- organisations it attracts. Don’t forget, all of them were there vying for members from “Freshers”. For the bus and taxi services, hotels, shops or stores it made good buck sense. For the students’ societies and groupings, the sense it makes varies . . . Ever thought of the “Beer Society”? There’s one in here.  Well, I signed up for (membership, of course) in a few, or picked up their information packages out of courtesy. The result? A messy room to clear and my mailbox bogged with mail from them.

And, you won’t believe it, Domino’s Pizza decided it would feed that crowd, offering slices of pizza for free, the whole afternoon. (I made four rounds of it and didn’t have to worry about dinner 🙂 ).

The PGR Welcome Week SEED/MIE

The SEED/MIE induction activities in the second week gave me a picture of the whole, a bird’s eye view – an eagle’s eye view, to be specific (functioning like a telescope compared to the hawk’s eye view, functioning like a microscope). I found the meetings with senior students very useful. For instance, in one of the Round-table talks, one of the senior students shared what I thought was very useful for compiling literature to situate a study. Some of the sessions gave a good picture of what I am getting myself into and what was there for me. Others showed some useful do’s and don’ts.  Overall, they made it sounds doable, didn’t they? Looked at from the point of view of the “Five-tricks” simulation session, I suppose they were “breaking” Richard’s rules by explaining to us how things work here – something which Abdullah did well in his group (during the “Five Tricks” simulation session). Come to think of it, I kind of think this session would serve a better purpose if it came at the beginning of the week.

My first trip on the assumptions we come with was non-academic – a cultural one in my place of residence. The details will be my well-kept secret  🙂

In the Library Tour with Dimi and Sarah, I learned new things. The borrowing system has changed a bit (since I was last here). I thought the “Collect Me” service was handy. So the following day I tried my first check out using “Collect Me”. I got two conflicting pieces of information — severally, I discovered. Later, I decided I’d do it the good ol’ way anyhow: take a walk to the library.

The eProg thing . . . seems to have a lot of things about it. During the induction, it appears it had a “bug” related to the merger of schools. So we only had the theory bit of how it works. I was just thinking aloud . . . Would it have been more useful if I had it in a computer room and someone showed me how it works, its potentials as I clicked around-and-about? (Never mind – that’s just confessing my learning style). The same hunch also applies to the session about the library. Since it is the nerve-centre of my study, I think I would not mind have minded having a longer guided session on it.

That said, I grant that by its very nature, the induction process involves a lot of information being given. Sometimes it felt like being on a roller coaster. While I was just trying to make sense of one thing, another or even several others called for my attention. Was I expecting some brief stops in this roller coaster ride? Maybe this is also my style of learning (by doing things practically) that is colouring the picture.

The sessions on what’s on my plate for the core courses (ending in the Audit) and the research(er) training sessions were useful preparation and gave me a flavour of what’s out there. For the training courses/ workshops, it was a race-against time to register for some of them. As a part-timer, I found myself losing out as some of the training courses/workshops were already full by the time I discovered they were there for me. Bad luck, on the one hand. On the other hand it is a “go-do-it-yourself” and “wish-me-luck” opportunity, isn’t it?

Of course the buffets were a welcome . . . also for networking before people disappeared into the library and www of learning. Taking wine at 1 pm . . . was a nice catch to it. You were very generous. . . Thanks a lot.

And now, its time to shift to the hawk’s eye view for the details. That’s the whole point of doing research, isn’t it?

Good luck to all.


  • Richard Fay

    Thank you one and all for these reflections.

    I was a bit preoccupied with other Inductions (MA in IC, MA TESOL, Ensemble Performance, Manchester Global Award) but I am aware that it was a complicated endeavour this year what with the School of Education becoming the Manchester Institute of Education within SEED, what with professional doctorates, and 3 and 4 year and in-context and part-time PhDs in Education, and so on, not to mention all the other SEED disciplines. Despite these complexities I am glad to see that much of value was gained last week.

    A reminder to you all: full-timers are supposed to have fortnightly tutorials with their Main Supervisor and although patterns vary these meetings might include the Co-Supervisor once a month. So, if you have not yet established a pattern of such tutorials, now is a good time to do so.

  • Volha Arkhipenka

    It was an excellent induction week! It gave useful insight into the organization of the programme and the academic and administrative support that is available to us here. But what is more important it helped us to build relationship with both staff members and other PhD students. I find it important because loneliness is what PhD students complain about very often and this is what I was worried about a lot prior to coming to Manchester. But now I don’t feel lonely or worried anymore. To the contrary, I feel that there are many interesting and friendly people here and I am really looking forward to spending the next three years with you.

  • Duygu Candarli

    As Huang, Susan and Rafidah wrote, the induction week provided us with a great opportunity to get to know not only the academic staff and new students, but also senior PhD students. The PGR student round table session was immensely valuable for me since I already got useful tips and advice for both the research training units and panel review. I am now aware of what a PhD student can go through during this exciting journey. I was also impressed with the engaging activities in the buddy and academic simulation sessions, which helped me to realise that people’s expectations can differ considerably from each other and there is a great need for flexibility in adjusting to new situations. Finally, during the induction week, both academic staff and senior PhD students informed us about a huge range of resources and training facilities that are available to us, which enabled me to gain knowledge about how to be selective in them.
    Thank you very much for organizing this fulfilling induction for us! As a new PhD student, I am excited about what the future holds in store for us 🙂

  • Rafidah Sahar

    I agree with both Min and Susan. The induction week was an eye opening experience for me and others. Listening to the current students’ experiences really gave me a clearer picture of what I will be facing, in terms of my studies and the amount of research I have to do. Before the induction week, I was worried thinking about how to do do my research and at the same time completing the research training. However post-induction week, to know that there are many support systems available; buddies, PGRSN and workshops and seminars, I am feeling pretty confident and excited to start my PhD journey here at MIE. And, the opportunity to meet other ( especially new) PhD students was valuable and very insightful. I also look forward to sharing new experiences with everyone 🙂

  • Susan Dawson

    Extremely worthwhile and a fantastic start to our PhD journey here. That would be my summary of the week. As Zhuomin says, it gave us a great introduction, not only to some of the administrative and mechanical aspects, but also insight into what life as a PhD researcher is really like. I also appreciated the opportunity to talk to others across SEED with very diverse research interests and feel these cross disciplinary opportunities will be very enriching.

    Perhaps best of all was the opportunity to get to know those we will be working more closely with. I look forward to sharing the next three years with you all.

  • Huang Zhoumin

    I would like to quickly share a brief reflection about the induction week.

    1. With the introduction lectures given by programme staffs and the experience shared by senior students, clearer expectations/goals of the first year has been gradually formed.

    2. The card-activity encourages me to hold a more open expectation towards the upcoming journey of PhD, including the new “cultures” and the possiblities of challenging situations I might encounter with. It also reminds me the significance of integrity and activeness when committing to the academic adventure.

    3. Communicating to people with divergent research interests is really inspiring. It allows me to be more aware of and opener to the issues in the educational world. Mutual inspirations regareding the use of methodology and the extension of topics could also be observed during the causal talking. -the opener you are to be involved in “experiencing”, the bigger amount of knowledge and inspirations you are likely to gain in “intercultural communication”.

    Last but not least, thanks to the induction lectures and activities prepared by MIE. I feel to be warmly welcomed and thoughtfully assissted in fiting into the community. 🙂