“PGR Students are Invisible Within Their University Community”
It can sometimes be easy when you are a PGR student to feel forgotten and invisible, when compared to the Undergraduate student population.
There are a number of reasons for this. Most obviously, there are usually far more Undergraduates than PGR students. The sheer size of the UG population can dwarf the PGR community, making you feel less noticed and cared for.
Secondly, the nature of the way in which you are studying (conducting research autonomously) can leave you feeling less connected to the university than someone who is coming into class regularly.
This does not, however, mean that you are not important to your university. In many ways PGR students are more important. Your existence is what marks the difference between an institution being a university or a college of Higher Education. It is your presence and research that helps to define your university as a university.
You are also making a valuable and necessary contribution to the financial sustainability of the university. By contributing to the research produced by your university, you are helping them to meet their REF requirements. In many universities the bulk of the research produced is actually done by PGR students. Without you, meeting the REF requirements would be far more difficult.
One of the ways in which you can address feelings of invisibility is to connect with other PGR students, share experiences and create formal routes to have ongoing communication with your university. Your Student Union or Guild may provide a forum or resources to support this. Many universities already have PGR student societies. Joining one of these and bringing PGR student voices together, so that you are more clearly heard by your university, can help you to address feelings of invisibility for the whole PGR community.
You can also use informal routes, such as conversations with your supervisor etc. to raise concerns and ensure that your needs are being considered and met by your university.