Produced by Sian Hedger
Hopefully you’re not yet slipping into a Hamlet-esque soliloquy contemplating whether or not to go into postgraduate study but, since you’re reading this blog post, you’re probably pondering taking the plunge, whether this is into an MSc, an MA, an MBA, or any of the other acronyms denoting a postgraduate qualification! Going into postgraduate study is a big decision (trust me, I know, I’ve had to make it myself), so let me give you a little bit of an insight into why you should grab your metaphorical swimming costume, or trunks, and dive on in!
As I was coming to the (stressful) tail-end of my undergraduate degree and the deadline for my dissertation, I vowed to anyone who would listen that I would never put myself through university study again. Fast forward a year from that point and I’d been accepted onto an MA in Social Work. What changed my mind?
For me, entering postgraduate study was a career change move. I’d not been sure what I wanted to do for a career through most of my undergraduate degree, though, I had thought I wanted to be involved in health and social care somehow. I got an internship with a leading charity for children researching ways they could improve their service and, while I was there, spoke to several social workers who were in the office. Lucky for me, the charity were nice enough to allow me the chance to shadow a social worker on her duties. This persuaded me that social work was exactly what I’d been looking for in a career, but I needed a degree qualification in it to be a social worker. I could have chosen to do a second undergraduate degree, but this would have been another three years in university and a lot more expensive than a two year masters!
A lot of people I know are doing postgraduate study in degrees that are unrelated, or only loosely related, to their undergraduate choice of subject because, since or during their first degree, they discovered where they really wanted to focus their career path. However, others I know have chosen to do a masters in the same subject as their undergraduate degree on the basis that it will give them an edge in today’s competitive job market. There are many reasons to enter into postgraduate study, including increasing your job prospects and really getting your teeth into a subject you’re passionate about, and, of course, becoming a student again also has the joyous advantages of student discounts, societies, and close proximity to friends for socialising!
Choosing to do an MA was a big decision for me, I was scared that I wouldn’t be ready for the higher level of study and that the jump between what is expected of students at undergraduate level and at postgraduate level would be too great a leap. However, the support within Bournemouth University has always been there for me when I’ve found myself overwhelmed and, more often than not, I am keeping on top of the, admittedly heavy, workload, as well as finding time to get involved in SUBU (Student Union Bournemouth University), societies, part-time work, and volunteering.
Postgraduate study may be hard work, but it’s definitely going to be worth it!