Back to advice

Make the most of postgraduate life - get involved with your students' union

By Francis Ahanonu

Wednesday 28 September 2016 Student life

A common misconception is that students' unions are only for undergraduates. This is very much not the case, and Francis Ahanonu, Vice President for Postgraduates at Coventry University Students' Union, tells us how SUs can help students make the most of their time in postgraduate student life.

As the Vice President for Postgraduate Students, it’s always important to me to welcome new postgraduates to Coventry University as well as Coventry University Students’ Union (CUSU). At CUSU, a great postgraduate student experience is really important to us and we are here to support postgraduates undertaking their studies at Coventry University.

An integral part of my role as Vice-President for Postgraduates is to represent Postgraduate Research and Postgraduate Taught students and to ensure that your voice is heard at the highest levels at the university. We have various feedback mechanisms in place for this, such as our student rep system and student council.

Why become a rep at your university?  Below are some quotes from our Postgraduate reps on why they enjoyed being a rep…

“Being able to talk to lecturers and give feedback to them”
“Collecting feedback and then resolving any issues”
“Being part of a community of students”
“Developing Leadership Skills”

Furthermore, if you need individual independent advice most students’ unions have advice centre services. Students’ union advice centres offer free and confidential advice on anything from funding to consumer law, from housing to plagiarism issues. 

At the postgraduates’ Guild you can also get involved in societies, volunteering and sports activities which all contribute to you making the most out of your postgraduate experience, who says Students’ Unions are just for undergraduates?

Here at Coventry University Students’ Union, we introduced the Postgraduates’ Guild last academic year; which was created to foster a vibrant and active postgraduate community. We have a Postgraduates and Mature Students’ Welcome Brunch at the beginning of this year to welcome new postgraduate students to Coventry University, it is worth finding out (whichever university you are attending) whether there are similar events held. We will have further events held throughout the year just for postgraduates.   

There are other opportunities for you to get involved in the SU, which includes joining a society or starting one if need be, volunteering, becoming a course rep, standing for elections or getting involved in campaigns and democracy. Check our website for more information: www.cusu.org/pgguild

Wishing you the best of luck on your postgraduate journey, wherever you might be!

Further information

For more advice and opinion on making postgraduate Student Union life, check out the following articles on MastersCompare and PostgraduateStudentships:

How to get involved with Postgraduate Clubs and Societies

Settling In - Making the most of Postgraduate Welcome Week

Settling In - Tips for PhD students