PhD Induction Day 2017

Blog written by PhD student Sarah Leith

PhD Induction Day Photograph.jpegShould you have been on South Street on the first Thursday morning of the new academic year, you would very likely have seen the latest intake of history PhD students scurrying towards St John’s House. Everyone was desperate to escape the very stereotypical Scottish weather and, once safely inside, the mediaeval history department did indeed provide very welcome shelter from the dreich and dreary day. St John’s entrance hall also doubled as a space for the students to meet each other for the first time as we all gathered together there before our Induction Day officially began.

The beautiful and imposing Cambo House provided the lucky students with the venue for the School of History PhD Induction Day and we were led to an ornate drawing room, which was to be our base for the day. There we were welcomed by staff and current PhD students: the School of History’s Director of Postgraduate Research Riccardo Bavaj, the School’s Postgraduate Secretary Elsie Johnstone, lecturer Dawn Hollis and two history PhD students, Jamie Hinrichs and Matt Ylitalo.

The first order of the day was refreshment: we enjoyed tea, coffee and a selection of chocolate biscuits, as well as the chance to chat during a ‘Speed Meeting’ session (not to be confused with Speed Dating!). We were encouraged to expand our topics of conversation beyond the weather and the usual ‘Where are you from?’ and ‘What is the topic of your thesis?’ When we had all finished our coffees and had all eventually returned to twenty-first-century North East Fife, the School staff spoke to us regarding ‘Understanding how the School works for you’, which included the varied lecture and seminar series, the Centre for Academic, Professional and Organisational Development (CAPOD)’s and the School of History’s own very useful Postgraduate Skills Training programmes.

Cambo House fun times bloomsRiccardo Bavaj then discussed with us the PhD thesis itself and we spoke to our new friends about what it means to conduct original research and about the process involved with the construction of a project such as a thesis. This talk was followed by a discussion led by Dawn Hollis, Jamie Hinrichs and Matt Ylitalo and we were all encouraged to consider what we wanted to achieve both academically and in our spare time during our three years as doctoral students at the University of St Andrews. All three inspired us and our eyes were opened to all the academic and professional options available to us as PhD students.

The gong then went for lunch and we all assembled in Cambo House’s spectacular dining room. Having been very well fed, we returned happily to the drawing room for the afternoon session, during which Sukhi Bains and Kate Ferris both gave very interesting talks about equality and diversity at the University of St Andrews. When the discussion came to an end, the sun began to shine at last and both students and staff embarked on a tour of Cambo House’s stunning gardens. We then returned to St Andrews far better equipped to start our PhDs than when we had assembled in St John’s that morning.  It was a really enjoyable and informative day and many thanks are therefore due to the speakers and organisers, and also to Cambo Estate, too, for the wonderful food and marvellous setting.

About standrewshistory
With over forty full time members of staff researching and teaching on European, American and Asian history from the dawn of the Middle Ages to the present day, the School of History at the University of St Andrews has one of the finest faculty and diverse teaching programmes of any School of History in the English speaking world. The School boasts expertise in Mediaeval and Modern History, from S cotland to Byzantium and the Americas to the Middle East and South Asia.Thematic interests include religious history, urban history, transnationalism, historiography and nationalism. The School of History prides itself on small group teaching and tutorials allowing for in depth study and supervision tailored to secure the best from each student. Cutting edge research combined with teaching excellence offer a dynamic and intellectually stimulating environment for the study of History.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: