On 17 January 2020, 35 new higher degree students visited NIE Library as part of the campus tour organised by the NIE Graduate Student Club.
During the 20-minute library tour, participants were given an overview of library collections and collaborative spaces, such as the Learning PODs, the Bookmark Café and the LearningHub@NIE.
The participants viewed the ceramic works of Dr Iskandar Jalil at the Iskandar Jalil Exhibition space on Level 4 and learned about his works through the interactive information kiosk. Students also found out about useful library services such as the 24/7 book pickup at the Smart Locker, as well as the various locations of photocopiers within the library.
The library tour was followed by an information session introducing online resources through a showcase of the library portal. The session included demonstrations on how to use the library integrated search to retrieve journal articles and e-books. Library services that can be accessed via the library portal, such as the online renewal of resources and document delivery services were also highlighted.
Interview with Graduate Student Club VP
We spoke to Sun Xiaoya, Vice President of the NIE Graduate Student Club and organiser of the campus tour, to learn more about the club.
Tell us more about the NIE Graduate Student Club.
The Graduate Student Club is relatively new; it was only established in January 2019. We have seven members on the executive committee. All of us serving in the committee are full-time PhD students. As serving in the committee requires significant time commitment, students in part-time Master’s programmes may find it difficult to find time to serve.
What activities does the club usually organise?
We organise both recreational and academic events. Recreational events include sports events such as Captain’s Ball. For academic activities, we organise the library tour and two orientation events every year. We also hold academic get-togethers where existing higher degree students share their learning journey and NIE experience with new higher degree students.
New students may have very specific questions or concerns related to their course of study. Therefore, we try to get senior higher degree students from different disciplines to ensure adequate representation for the AGs. We have also organised two Python programming tutorials. One member of our club is quite familiar with Python, and he delivered two lectures for the topic.
You mentioned that the Graduate Student Club organises the campus tour twice a year. What is typically covered during these tours?
These tours are held in January and August. We publicise our campus tours during the orientations for students to sign up. We have two members who are from NSSE and PESS, and they would organise tours to their labs. The sports and science labs are usually not open to students from other academic groups. Our member from PESS will also introduce the students to the gym and other sports facilities that they might want to use in the future. According to feedback from the last campus tour, the students enjoyed the tour and appreciated the opportunity to visit the labs. They were also delighted to learn about the gym and the sports facilities that NIE students can use for free.
As part of the campus tours, the Graduate Student Club also visited the library. Which part of the library tour was considered to be the most useful?
I think students found the library briefing to be the most useful. In our previous library tours, students were brought to the different levels of the library to familiarise them on which sections can certain books be found. For this tour, a short library briefing on electronic resources was included. I was hoping that in the future, more time can be allocated to the briefing so that you can explain more about library resources.
In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge that graduate students face?
In terms of academics, we are all working on different topics, and we have different types of challenges conducting and writing about our research. For that part, we have our supervisors, as well as faculty members who can help us out. However, in terms of mental well-being, we are on our own. As pursuing a higher degree can be stressful, I would say that maintaining a state of good mental wellness is one of our biggest challenges. When it comes to time management, I think it is crucial for new higher degree students to plan ahead. Even for a four-year PhD programme, time can pass very quickly!