As mentioned in last week’s it’s not too early to be thinking about a PhD, the University is holding an open event next week (2 – 6 November) to help you find out more about studying for a PhD here, and later in November there is also the chance to meet other institutions at The Virtual Postgraduate Study Fair. From information on funding, to resources, services and the reality of being a research student – events like these can really help you to decide if it’s for you.
We all know how open days and events work (they have followed the same familiar pattern for years) or at least we did! However this year, as with many, they’re going to look at bit different. We want to make sure that you get everything you need from then new format. So, here are some tips to help you make the most of an online event:
Treat your virtual events as if you were attending in person. This means clearing your schedule and limiting any distractions. Although you won’t be in the room try and dedicate your time and attention to the session. Turn off notifications on your email and phone and block out your day to show that you aren’t available. It may be tempting to try and multitask, especially since you’ll be at your computer, but to get the most out of the event you need to fully engage minimise distraction.
Schedule your time
When you’re booking onto your sessions remember to book in some breaks as well. When attending an event in person there are natural breaks within the day for lunch and coffee. But there’s also the small breaks you get in between sessions which gives you time to process what you’ve been listening to and switch off for a bit as you make your way to the next one. It’s tiring concentrating in back to back zoom sessions so make sure you plan in some breaks throughout the day.
Notes or no notes
Unlike face-to-face events most virtual events talks and sessions will be recorded and available after the event. You could also check with the organiser if you will have access to the speaker’s presentation or notes following the session. If this is the case, you don’t have to spend as much time scribbling down notes giving the presenter your full attention.
Check your tech
Over the past few months we’ve been downloading and accessing a variety of new technology to support working remotely. Although most of us are now pretty savvy at using the new platforms it’s worth making sure you have all the right tech you need to be able to access all the events and sessions you want to. Have you got the right version of Zoom? Will you need a create specific account or profile for anything? These are all things to check beforehand.
With any events and sessions, you have booked onto make sure you know how to join well in advance. The last thing you want is five minutes before a session is trying to figure out how to join. We’d also suggest arriving early, at least five minutes so you can check sound and video.
Make sure you’re prepared
Finally, as with any event whether it’s virtual or in person take the time to do some preparation. Find out what sessions/talks are taking place and book onto the ones you want to attend. For the Postgraduate Study Open Day have a look at the website beforehand. There’s lots of information already available – but if there’s something you want to know more about or isn’t clear make a note of it so you can ask. Most events like the virtual Postgraduate Open Week also have chat functions so you’ll have the ability to ask real people questions, give you plenty of opportunity to meet current students. With the Postgraduate Study Fair have a look beforehand to see which institutions are attending so you can do a bit of research beforehand.
Postgraduate Open Event: Further information and registration
Postgraduate Study Fair: Further information