“If I’m being honest, I questioned my choice to do a postgrad course right up until the start date. Having left university a couple of years ago, I wasn’t sure if I was up to studying again. I wondered if I could even really afford it, if I would get a job after this, would it be worth it…. But as soon as classes started, I knew I made the right decision.
“The best thing about postgraduate study is that you can choose something that interests you and that you’re passionate about. You’ve probably already studied at undergrad level and will have a certain amount of life experience, so this is a great opportunity to focus on an area you enjoy working in.
"For me, this meant a Masters in Sustainable Resource Management, and once I started the course, I was surrounded by like-minded people, who were just as excited as I was to be there, whether that was a 9am lecture on water quality or standing in a bog on a wet November afternoon hearing about species conservation. It is something we are passionate about, so we are happy to be here. Although, my classmates and I have similar interests, another great aspect to the masters is that we come from very different backgrounds. We are exposed to other peoples’ perspectives and experiences, and this in itself is of value. In my undergrad degree, I had never been a fan of group projects but I love it in the masters. Learning to communicate, and sometimes compromise, is a real life skill.
“Postgraduate learning is much more like the ‘real world’ overall. The onus is on you to get the work done but this can be liberating, as you take responsibility and pride in your work. Also, in my course, we can often choose to study topics that particularly interest us, making the assignments more enjoyable. Don’t get me wrong. It can be tough. There seems to be endless deadlines, projects and presentations and often, I feel overwhelmed that I don’t know enough and haven’t done all my reading. Time-management is definitely something I’m working on at the moment!
“But, I was given great advice very early on. ‘Enjoy this time’. This is an opportunity to immerse myself in something I love. While the workload can be heavy, this is something I chose and I want to do. Of course we all want to do our best and get good grades but there is value in the experience as well. I’m nearly finished my first semester, loving it, and before I know it, the course will be over.
“So, if considering postgrad study, I would advise doing your research to find the course that best fits your interests. This may mean moving away from your undergrad subject. Email the course co-coordinators for advice, get detailed module descriptions, find out thesis topics from previous years, and talk to past students or lecturers. But try not to worry. If you’re like me, you won’t be sure you made the right decision until you’re in it. And once you are in it, enjoy it.”