The Lonely Postgrad

Outgoing project officer, Emily Orme, tells us about her experiences of NPC who has had a different postgraduate education to many others.

Professional Postgraduate seeks partnership with GSOH for possible development and future needs. Interested in intellectual conversation and fun weekends away.

Not your average personal add, but then I am not your "average" postgraduate. I think it is fair to say that the majority of postgrads who become involved in NPC are undertaking research based programmes such as masters or PhDs. Lets face it, we probably have one of the most highly qualified student committees in the country with most of the MSC rapidly turning into Drs before our very eyes. However, I am not doing a Masters, or a PhD, or any kind of research based course at all. I have over the last 2 academic years been training to become a lawyer. This is important because what my postgraduate years have involved is taught courses in the style of "you take notes then go home and write the essay" type courses with exams and tutorials. More intensive than an undergrad degree, but less intensive than A levels.

My point about all this is that I am a very different type of postgrad with different needs from NPC and I am not alone. There are thousands of postgrads like me undertaking professional courses to qualify as teachers, nurses, doctors, pharmacists, and so on. We pay massive course fees (my own were 8,125 for this year alone), need to see the continuation of our taught courses and therefore need to see the support for them maintained. This makes it necessary to word any policy NPC may have about the opposition to taught postgrad courses very carefully indeed.

Through out the last year NPC has really undergone a step change. It has evolved into a charity and in my opinion, taken leaps and bounds forward in gaining recognition from government and other organisations in its ability to voice the views and needs of postgrads. I have bee fortunate to benefit from the seemingly encyclopaedic knowledge and experience of people like James Groves and Tim Brown. However, I also hope that in turn they, and the NPC as a whole, have learned to widen the horizons and representational aims of NPC. It is all too easy for an organisation to become representative solely of the thoughts and beliefs of its officers in charge. I hope that after my participation in MSC meetings and proposals of NPC policy, that the next committee, whoever they are, will take forward the importance of remembering who their constituents are. Dont forget us so-called "professional postgrads". Remember that when you are up in arms over the governments proposals to cut back on research degrees in order to promote taught courses, there are some of us out there who can get caught in the cross fire if you forget our needs.

I wish the NPC all the best for the future. And if your still wondering about the relevance of the intellectual conversations and fun weekends away, you will have to join the MSC to find out!