Where did the summer term go? Summer is a great time of year to embark on new adventures, spend time with family and engage in some classic warm weather activities. As wonderful as summer is, I think September is increasingly my favourite month because of the new incoming Schulich Medicine & Dentistry graduate trainees I have the opportunity to welcome to Western.
This month, more than 200 new trainees started their graduate studies at our School. It was exciting to see all the new faces at our graduate studies fall orientation and I look forward to getting to know our new trainees over the next couple of months. As I shared at the graduate studies orientation, this is a time in your academic studies to explore your opportunities, forge new collaborations and to determine your research interests. Research is challenging—there is no doubt about that. It requires a certain set of skills and a strong will. I always say, if you’re not interested in what you are researching, or research in general, maybe it’s time to change course or explore different research avenues.
With so much new learning, the first few months of graduate school can fly by very quickly. However, they can also prove to be among the most important ones as they can significantly shape how your project gets started, or when you might be able to write up your thesis and defend it. Make these months count—you will thank yourself later when your project is off to a great start.
Since the Current Affairs newsletter exists to serve as an information hub and connect our Graduate Studies community about new research and people of interest, I welcome your feedback on topic you would like to read about or would like guidance on. Please feel free to email me or set up an appointment to visit any time you wish to.
Besides new beginnings and welcoming a new crop of eager and bright trainees, the fall is also all about scholarship applications. I can’t emphasize enough how important they are to your development and success as a researcher. Please make sure you are aware of all the relevant submission dates, and of course the various rules and regulations surrounding each award or scholarship application. The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) website (http://www.grad.uwo.ca/prospective_students/finances/index.html) is excellent for all the details you will need. Your supervisor, graduate program chairs and assistants, as well as my office, are all great sources of assistance for your applications.
Here are several keys to a very successful time in graduate school:
I can’t wait to see what each of you will accomplish. If you have any suggestions or would like to meet, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.Andrew Watson, PhD