Student Focus - Graduate School Training
By LawPod QUB School of Law
February 11, 2022
0:00 / 5:27
Lauren Dempster00:02

Hello, Eimear. Thank you so much for joining me. I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit about the training that the graduate school provides and who it's for.

Eimear O'Connor00:11

Sure. So the graduate school provides a range of training for our postgraduate students, both to support them along their academic journey, but also to get them future ready as well. So some of the academic style of training we have are things like, um, academic writing, how to plan and structure your writing, how to engage in critical reading, critical thinking, critical writing. So we also provide support with how to communicate and present your work to appropriate audiences.

and just preparing for those academic milestones along the way, and then we also help students think about life beyond their studies. So we have future ready workshops, which include things like, um, creating a successful CV or enhancing your interview skills. And just really getting ready to transfer your communication skills and decision-making into the workplace.

So we do these through master your leadership programs, master your future success, and we also have a level seven professional certificate in management and leadership, which is accredited through the Chartered Management Institute

Lauren Dempster01:19

Well, excellent. Um, I noticed on your website that you have these one-to-one sessions, can you tell me a bit about how they work and also how students can sign up for those?

Eimear O'Connor01:28

Sure. So our events page on our website covers all of our training programs that are coming up, and we also advertise information in our weekly round-up, so that automatically goes to students and we have a social media platform on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, the one-to-one sessions can be booked via my future.

So these are one-to-one sessions with an expert from the graduate school. And they usually last about 30 minutes. So the type of sessions that I would support students with are things like, um, academic writing and research design. So for example, a student might come from. With a piece of academic writing, that maybe they've received some feedback on and they want to improve.

So we look at the piece of writing together, we'll work through the feedback and think, how can we implement that feedback? Um, and really basically improve on their standard of writing. And I find this really empowering for the student because it gives them some space and time to develop themselves. So I'm only in a supporting capacity.

They're really doing the work there. Um, students would also come along and ask for some advice on the practicalities of the research design or their data analysis, and often I'll find students just want to have a one-to-one and talk. Um, a lot of students may experience things like imposter syndrome. I, I still do.

Um, I remember what imposter syndrome is like, so they'll want to talk about those more kind of general challenges that most postgraduate students experience, um, Then students can also book one-to-one sessions to develop their career planning. So they might want to talk to an expert about areas that they're interested in working in, or, um, enhancing their own individual CV, or even practicing skills for, you know, a job interview.

So it's really, really unique and tailored towards each individual student and, and what support they would like.

Lauren Dempster03:22

Thank you Eimear, it sounds like the graduate school doing really valuable work. I didn't realize you did such a, a range of. Uh, types of activity over there. Uh, my final question then would be from your perspective as a, as a trainer in the graduate school, what, um, tips you would have for writing a really strong assessment?

Eimear O'Connor03:39

Yes. I suppose what I've noticed with, um, working with postgraduate students is. There's two main messages that I like to give them, or that I think makes for a really good piece of academic writing. So academic writing needs to be clear and you also need to bring in your own independent thought. So for clarity and structure, I advise students think of your reader, make sure that the reader only needs to read one sentence once, um, in order to understand that sentence.

Similarly, they shouldn't have to read four or five paragraphs in order to understand what was being said in the first paragraph. So always write with your reader in mind, what information do they need and when do they need it? So that really helps with the structure. So having a plan before you even sit down to write can really, really help.

Then what's a little bit more difficult, I suppose, is that critical writing and the critical element. And I find this is where that imposter syndrome comes into play. I find students sometimes. Don't feel confident in their own voice. They're like, who am I to critique this literature? So what I say to these students is, you know, you've earned your place in the post-graduate community.

Okay? So now you're expected to contribute and you're expected to have your voice, your voice will be valued and your voice is valid. So in order to really get involved in that debate within the literature first, you need to understand your topic, show an in-depth understanding, then you need to pull out those themes that are related to your argument or whatever piece of writing you're you're you're discussing.

And then you need to be able to bring in your own perspective justified by that previous literature. So you're really adding into that literature base and you're bringing something new. You're moving the argument forward. So thank you

for that is excellent. If I thank you for joining us.