Things They Don’t Tell You Before Starting An MA

The prospect of leaving university is scary.

No matter how figured out you think you have your life, the comfort of 2pm starts and your lovely flatmates you don’t care if you do your washing up for days is difficult to leave behind. Never mind the thought of actually having to go out into the real world and getting a job.

Like so many other students I finished my Sociology BA with absolutely no idea what to do next. I was pleased with my grade, I just didn’t know how to turn that into a job. That is when the notion of Masters Study first came around. Here a few things I was so glad I knew/ wish someone had told me before I started.

Experience and research is key:

Unlike undergraduate study, Masters are not funded in the same way and are in most cases a lot more expensive. It sort of goes without saying but be sure you actually want to do what you’re looking at before applying. For me, I wanted to narrow down my focus to a vocation- I chose journalism.

Make the most of your careers service:

This ties into the first point but if you are considering Masters Study at the university you already attend the careers service can be invaluable. Many departments have careers specialists who will be able to tell you what Masters Courses are on offer and what they entail. They are, on the whole, far more useful than any prospectus.

 

 

Keep an open mind and explore all of your options:

You can do so many things with most degrees these days. Explore everything you are interested in and exhaust all options until you find something that sticks. Many people take a year out before returning to do a Masters. Give yourself time, whilst you may feel there is a rush to sort your life out there isn’t.

 

Take into consideration the physical and mental transition:

Like many other BA’s in my last year I had eight contact teaching hours. Whilst I also had a dissertation it was pretty nice being able to get up as and when I wanted. Masters life is not like this. While it is far better as a transitional year into working life (you will be doing at least 9-5 Monday to Friday) it can be mentally exhausting. Make sure you do not take on too many commitments before you even begin. Caffeine will become your best friend.

 

Remember to actually enjoy it:

Most Masters are a yearlong. Whist this sounds like a long time it flies. You will
meet people who are more like minded to you than in the three years you have been at university, the hours mean you know each other maybe a little better than you would like and while it is a lot of hard work, you definitely have time to play hard too. It will be one of the toughest and most rewarding years of your life.

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