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Postgraduate Study in Australia

Surviving and Succeeding

Edited By Christopher McMaster, Caterina Murphy, Benjamin Whitburn and Inger Mewburn

Each contributor to this book was given the remit: "If you could go back in time to talk with yourself when you began your studies, what advice would you give?" Hindsight is such a bonus, especially, when vying for your doctorate or postgraduate degree. Postgraduate Study in Australia: Surviving and Succeeding addresses this with advice from postgraduate students and recent graduates that will assure that you are not alone in your endeavors.

This project follows similar editions that focus on Aotearoa/New Zealand, South Africa,
the United States, and the United Kingdom, and is currently being replicated in Scandinavia. This down-to-earth anthology shares personal stories from postgraduate students and recent graduates, employing a practical approach and focusing on the context of postgraduate studies in Australia. This first-person approach to research about postgraduate study helps curate the current understanding, with critical reflections adding to our collective knowledge. Both prospective and current postgraduate students will find this collection insightful.

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Chapter Eighteen: Validating your Access Card: How to Strive Beyond Equality to Equity (or Something Close Enough) (Gabrielle Hodge)


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Validating YOUR Access Card

How to Strive Beyond Equality to Equity (or Something Close Enough)


Communication is at the heart of all postgraduate study. As such, your chances of survival and success are strongly affected by your facility with English and subsequent relation to the efficiency bottom line. If you are a postgraduate student with a disability or if English is not your first language, your default arrival in the system may be one of disadvantage. However, it doesn’t have to remain this way. As a deaf PhD student of linguistics, I learned a number of strategies to mitigate the upsetting effects of inequitable language access. Some were developed accidentally through making mistakes, others because my supervisor was actively on my side. Some are simple practicalities, others forced me to dive deeply into transformation. All proved to have value. I am sure they will for you too.


In the eyes of your university, all students are equal and deserve the same opportunities to survive and succeed in their postgraduate studies. Yet in practice, our individual circumstances are anything but equal. If you are young/healthy/well-educated/white/heterosexual/able-bodied/male/native English speaker/city dweller/with parents who both went to university, you are in a fortunate position. You may intersect with a demographic that has been present through the development of Australian universities since their founding. ← 161 | 162 →

On a practical level,...

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