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One of the first things that you will discover about the Institute of Astronomy is that on the whole it is a very relaxed and friendly place. There are many opportunities to meet up with the other members of the department to discuss your work perhaps over a cup of tea. The department rightly emphasises the importance of discussion and the sharing of ideas. Indeed, this is always in your own interest: whatever problems you face in your academic work, it is most likely that there is someone here who is an expert in that particular field and might just be able to point you quickly in the right direction.

Don’t feel that you are only allowed to talk to your supervisors about your work as you will soon discover that astronomers are a busy bunch who rarely seem to be able to stay in the same country for more than a few weeks at a time. If your supervisor is abroad and you have a particularly difficult problem with your work, then it is always good to know to whom you can speak instead.

Academic work aside, there are also a number of occasions where you can get together with everyone from your fellow postgrads to the senior professors and just enjoy yourselves. In the following sections you can read about the most important events in your everyday life and how they are going to affect you.