Isolation during candidature is a common feeling, but overcoming these feelings has many benefits. Having a network of research student friends and colleagues makes you much more likely to succeed in your studies, and your network can provide you with support and assistance. It's important not to compare your progress and study practices with those around you - instead, ask yourself what you could learn from what others do. Here's some things that may help:
- Attend department and school activities
- Join a student research club
- Get involved with the Graduate Students Association
- Attend workshops and training for graduate research students
- Combine professional development with networking and making friends
- See Developing my skills for information and opportunities
Parisa was new to Australia and felt quite isolated at times during her candidature. She was living alone for the start of her candidature and found little opportunity to socialise with other students.
She had a shared space set up in her faculty but rarely saw other research students studying, with whom she thought she might talk to, to share her progress and find out about other students’ research.
Parisa was excited to find several flyers around campus about the range of activities and events run by the Graduate Students Association (GSA) and internally in her faculty. She discovered it was beneficial for her to engage in more recreational and research-related activities, where she met other research students. This gave her a boost of confidence in approaching others and talking about her research, with the added bonus of making new friends and social connections.