At the Kick-Off Workshop for the Arqus Mentoring Programme for Early-Stage Researchers from October 5th to 6th 2023, fifteen pre- and postdocs from all nine universities in the Arqus Alliance were gathered in Graz, navigating their way through the beautiful autumnal city and the confusing corridors of the university buildings.
The facilitator of the Mentoring Programme, Yasmin Dolak-Struss, had prepared a mix of exercises that focused on creativity, introspection and exchange of experiences. The group visualised their career paths as journeys across the challenging seas of academia, a voyage which can take the form of a rowboat - strenuous and slow, a yacht - full of support, a ferry - connecting different continents and disciplines, or a sailboat, fast, but also dependent on external forces. The workshop aimed to clarify roles in a mentoring relationship, establish good communication practices and build a rapport between the mentees. The mentee group will continue meeting in online sessions throughout the next nine months.
A dinner between the two workshop days provided the opportunity to chat over a glass of wine and, a Styrian speciality, pumpkin in its various forms. Discussions ranged from politics, university life, bodybuilding (with a nod to one of Styria’s greatest sons) and the all-connecting fabric of the continent, the Eurovision Song Contest.
Despite their diverse academic backgrounds, which included neuroscience, performing arts, physics, linguistics, marketing, and history of science, participants shared their experiences of navigating academic challenges, chances and choices. The positive spirit developed during the Kick-off Workshop will be crucial for the building of constructive relationships between mentors and mentees as well as for the online training sessions to come.
Further information about the Arqus Mentoring Programme for Early-Stage Researchers can be found here: Arqus Mentoring Programme for Early-Stage Researchers - Arqus (arqus-alliance.eu)