Written by kdanceydowns
We recently held a live web chat on our Postgraduate Facebook page. MA Post Production Editing student and blogger Alice White gave out so much useful advice, that we thought we’d immortalise it in blog form.
So, the first thing I’ve learned about PG study is that age and experience are irrelevant. I was worried about being older than other PG students (I was 26 when I started) and also inexperienced, but there are a wide range of ages, some of whom have worked professionally for years and some are new to the industry. All that matters is that you’re dedicated and willing to work hard!
The next lesson I learned is that living away from uni during PG study is absolutely fine. I actually live over 30 miles away (nearly an hour drive) but it’s not been a problem. Sometimes it means my days are slightly longer, or I have to get up a bit earlier, but it’s not stopped me enjoying my course. It helps if a kind friend has a sofa to sleep on now and again though!
Since starting the MA I have also learned that PG study is quite different to undergrad study. My BA was more focused on introducing you to theory and telling you about the industry, teaching you the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. The MA is more about taking it further and asking questions rather than seeking answers. It’s about taking the initiative to explore techniques and theories, and finding what doesn’t work as much as what does.
Lesson number…5…? Give yourself some time off! During my MA there have been some very busy times, so don’t feel guilty having a day off. It’s important to refresh those brain cells! Last term was a very busy one, but I worked hard, got through it, and then enjoyed some glorious time off over Easter.
Following on from number 5, my next lesson (and one that I’ve taken way too long to learn) is to plan ahead and pace yourself. PG study is often more intense than undergrad study, and so things are more jam-packed. Have those days off now and again, but remember to keep on top of things. My MA course is now working on final projects (due in August), and whilst 3.5 months seems like a long time, it’s going to go very quickly!
Lesson 6: Money.
It isn’t everything, but it helps. I didn’t give myself much time to save money, and I took out a loan to cover my living expenses and found some part-time work, but it’s amazing how little money you can live on when you try. It’s great if you have some savings to fall back on, but don’t let money (or the lack of) be the big deciding factor of whether or not to study at PG level. If you want it, there are ways of making it happen. (Legal ways, I mean. Nothing dodgy!).
OK, final lesson for today: Get involved.
I’m a student rep, an ambassador and a student blogger, which has been a great way to become more a part of the university and earn some money too (and talk to all you lovely people). As long as you’re not overloaded, I’d definitely recommend getting involved with as much as you can – it’s only a year, so make the most of it!
If you want to get involved with the next PG web chat, like our Facebook page to join us on Wednesday 20 May, 3-4pm, when MSc Maritime Archaeology student Lowri Roberts will take your questions!