By Kelly Strzepek

It’s that time of the year, here in the Southern Hemisphere, where the new cohort of fresh faces can be seen in graduate schools around the country. Which means census date is approaching for the 2012 intake of PhD students. Those who have run the gauntlet of administrative hurdles, and some who haven’t quite vaulted the last obstacle, can be found wide-eyed and hopeful wandering the halls trying to find the tea room. For our students this is yet another test of smarts; the tea room is not in the tea room anymore, it’s in the old library which is about to become IT? Heck even I’m not sure, the whole school is being rearranged and I for one keep tracking back to my old office, forgetting that I now live downstairs next to the men’s toilets. Clearly I have a few rungs to climb up the ladder of academia before I reach the corner office. 

We held a morning tea to introduce a few significant, and not so significant, people to the new students and to run them through some important information that they might need to know during their stay. Important things like who DO you need to curtsy to when you pass them in the hallway, how many risk assessment forms do I need to fill out to boil water and where do I sign up to contribute to this fabulous blog? I’ll let you figure out which I’m designating as significant. Oh and we gave them cake, what doesn’t prepare you for three years of hard work like a piece of caramel slice?

It was a chance for us all to mingle, the old and the new, to introduce ourselves and to share some pointers about the inner workings of the school and the road ahead. And it’s quite the road; at times winding the lofty hilltops with breathtaking views, and at others travelling precariously close to the cliff edge which is also breathtaking but in another way all together. But we’ve all been there and have hopefully learned a thing or two along the way. So I would like to welcome all the new students both here at RSES and anywhere else in the world, to the wonders of independent research. I hope you all enjoy the experience, but if you ever find your self down a dead-end or completely lost (goodness knows this road ain’t well sign posted) send up a flare and someone can come and find you, armed with caramel slice.