I’ve talked about being a student a couple of times on She Might Be. From my thoughts on being a mature student to an in depth description of your Graduation Day experience when you’re fat, it feels like you have all been part of my journey to becoming Woman With Letters After Her Name (that she doesn’t use) – and so it felt like the natural next step was to talk about my Masters.
I didn’t even know I was going to do a Masters. It 100% was not in my immediate plan – I wanted to finish University and just relax as much as I could for a little while. Yet there I was, on the evening of the 21st of July – I know because it was the very day that I graduated – hurriedly writing out a personal statement to see if I could apply in time for clearing. Maybe it was some sort of personal crisis, but it worked! And it all just sort of fell into place from there. I was going to do MA History at The University of Northampton because a) I love my University, and the faculty are absolutely amazing – there’s a reason they achieved that gold rating! b) I was excited by every single one of the modules, c) I could fit the programme of study into my existing lifestyle/condition of health because the University is relatively near me, and Master’s degrees tend to have less actual class time and d) most Universities offer an alumni discount on postgraduate education, and mine was no exception!
Well, part of it is that I just love learning. I am absolutely fascinated by the majority of the things I have learned (sorry, military history doesn’t do it for me – my personal tutor would be terribly disappointed!) and if academic achievement is the worst addiction I end up having, then I guess I’m doing okay. Secondly, I don’t know where our future is going to take us but our little family would love to get out in the world and explore one day.Sure, there are many interesting jobs available in England, but in case we end up in Canada, Australia or somewhere in Scandinavia, I want to make sure I am at the top of my game and qualified to take anything on board. Maybe I’ll even do a PHD – I’m honestly not sure. But in a way I guess it’s nice to have a bit of paper that says ‘hello, look, I R smart’ because you never know where life will go or when you’re going to need it.
I’m only a couple of weeks into my Masters, but so far there are quite a few big differences. Instead of taking six modules per year, I am taking five – but they are spaced out so that I am only taking a maximum of two at a time. Each module meets once every fortnight and has online activities that need to be completed each week, so the two modules I am taking alternate their class time/distance learning weekly. And I generally just have a change in attitude now. I am there because I want to be there, there is a lot more expected of me and the other people who are in my classes feel the same way. I read much more than I did for an undergraduate, so I have a deeper understanding of (some of) what I’m learning, and therefore have more to contribute in terms of online discussions, seminars and – hopefully – assignments. Speaking of assignments, there are no exams for me anymore! But essays are 3000 – 5000 words now, and my dissertation will be 15,000 words. This is a healthy step up from the final year of my undergraduate degree.
Different Universities might handle their postgraduate courses in different ways, but I thought I would update on this new experience for those of you who have followed my undergraduate journey and are considering University yourself. All being well, I’ll be back in a year with a brand new Graduation Day outfit to feature!