End of year message from the MGAEC

2020 has been a different year for all of us; one we could never have anticipated. Despite the many challenges of the pandemic, I would like to close out this extraordinary year by reflecting on and acknowledging the efforts of the graduate student community to persevere and adapt to the many changes. Students continued to maintain a strong and powerful voice through it all.

Like many other organisations, we pivoted our services and introduced new ones to cater for the various needs of the graduate student community. We saw the introduction of an online WhatsApp service to provide students an outlet to deal with loneliness, make informed decisions about staying in Australia to study or return home; deal with the Australian health system and stay connected with other students from their course, faculty or country.

The pandemic has affected so many beyond their academic careers, with the MGA aiming to alleviate some of the burden with our financial assistance packages, including those students undertaking placement.

Based on student feedback, we lobbied hard this year and our efforts have resulted in many wins. These include Monash University granting 3 – 6 month extension of scholarships to all RTP scholarship holders and amending the eligibility criteria for hardship grants to cater for individual situations and needs. With the executive committee and staff working hard around the gradual opening of the University, we are busy preparing to see more of you on campus soon.

We are so proud to be a part of a vibrant and vocal community of students. This year has definitely taken a toll not only on our academic careers, but every aspect of our lives. Please take the opportunity to reset and be ready to hit the ground running in 2021.

While we cannot be together physically at this time, we look forward to the opportunity to meet you face-to-face more often in the new year. Till then, Merry Christmas to those of you that celebrate this time, and to the rest, wishing you a happy and safe holiday season.

Caitlyn Neale and the MGAEC