Masters Study – Our Best Student Stories
Postgraduate study means all sorts of things to all sorts of different people.
Sometimes it means understanding human voices and experiences, buried in the past or overlooked in the present. Sometimes it means understanding how Big Complicated Machines work, or learning to make better ones. Sometimes it simply means understanding what it means to understand things. Sometimes, it might help save people's lives.
Every Masters experience is its own story about a student's drive to take their subject further, tackle the harder problems and emerge with knowledge and skills the world needs and values.
This is especially valuable right now, when the world is, temporarily, a more uncertain place.
Below, you can find some of the most inspiring, encouraging and occasionally amusing stories from the past four years(!) of the FindAMasters blog. We hope they provide a bit of advice, distraction or inspiration right now.
Learning to (be a) screw up!
One for the scientists: you might be on the way to being a 'Master' of your field, but new postgrads certainly aren't there yet. And Chris reckons that messing up is a vital part of getting there. In fact, he argues that getting stuff plain wrong is all part of the process.
The reality is that even a full postgraduate student loan probably won't cover all of your costs during a Masters, so working part-time is the norm for some students. But what's that actually like? Chantelle explains how she worked three(!) jobs during a Masters and lived to blog the tale. . .
How to actually enjoy your dissertation. . .
Time for one of my own stories. Things were different when I started my own MA: the iPad didn't exist, Myspace was still a thing and people still bought lots of CDs. Oh, and there wasn't a global pandemic, but we'll park that for one for now. One thing was as true than as it is today, though: a Masters ends with a big old dissertation. And I liked mine.
This is often the analogy people use about postgraduate study. As in, 'it's just like riding a bike – once I've remembered every precise detail of this complex fourteenth-century ecumenical debate, I'll never forget it!'. Well, Ben didn't study medieval theology, but he did ride a bike a lot, in Amsterdam. His story explains how studying abroad did and didn't meet with his expectations.
They may be familiar now, but, back in 2016-17, the postgraduate loan was a very new and (at the time) unusual addition to the funding landscape. Lydia explained what it was like to be one of the first students to make this student finance work for her Masters. The amount has gone up since then, but her advice is still very relevant.
We firmly believe that postgraduate study is – and will continue to be – for everyone who wants to take advantage of it. That's why we were delighted to feature Nicola's story of going back to do a Masters in Viking and Anglo-Saxon Studies, in her 60s. She learned more than a few interesting things in the process.
Preparing for a postgrad interview
It's more likely that Masters degree interviews will be taking place virtually, right now – but that doesn't make them any less important.
Planning for a Masters in 2020?
There may be some challenges ahead, but there's still lots to look forward to (and be aware of) for postgrad study this year and next.
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