Moving to a Masters from an Undergrad is a huge step.
Not only metaphorically, but there are usually a load of stairs for you to climb before you actually find your classroom. Here are a couple of points I’ve noticed in my new “masters life” so far.
‘Big Man On Campus’
In final year, you feel like you’ve got everything down pat. You know where your rooms are, your lecture’s name; all the basics of how to survive at college.
At Masters level, this completely changes. You go from being ‘Big Man On Campus’, to not having a clue what you’re doing, where you are or who you’re talking to. Imagine going back to day one, all over again, but this time you don’t have the baby face to back up your naivety. Yeah, it sucks.
I know everyone says Masters workload is a bitch, but seriously, it is.
I don’t know why I expected any differently, but the amount of work you are expected to do and the standard that work has to be maintained at is intense. I have spent many a night in mini-breakdown mode over class assignments and it’s only week 5.
Like I said before, you haven’t a clue what you’re doing most of the time. Most people move from an Undergrad into a Masters position that is completely different to what they have done before.
This usually leads to the all-round confusion, distress and the odd bleat of panic mid-sentence.
I am here to assure you that that is normal, and it’s seriously not just you. Though others may hide it better, everyone is 100% terrified 100% of the time, so just ride the wave.
Yes, a masters is hella’ expensive. Yes, the stress will lead to you spending money you don’t have on things you don’t need. No, there is no cure.
Impulse shopping is a serious symptom of stress for most students, but when it comes to the masters, it is a whole other ball game. With the amount of working hours you have to juggle, plus deadlines, in house tests and everything else in your life, the prevailing mood I have experienced is “treat yo self gurl”.
And oh have I treated myself. Try not to be like me when it come to this. Your bank account, or the neon pink Alpaca lamp you bought from Amazon at 3am, will not thank you. queen.
The Little Family.
I know it’s a cliché, but for me, I never had a core group of friends in my undergrad. I think with Arts degrees in particular it is hard to form that sort of network.
However, being in my MA, I’ve experienced that everyone genuinely is out to help each other. There’s no catty-ness or people thinking they are better that anyone else.
You’re all there to learn and are desperately trying to not drown, together. So the masters isn’t really all bad.