For all the countless library expeditions, jumbo coffee mugs, packets of Haribo and diligent hard-work, term is finally over. I say ‘finally’ as I am unashamedly looking forward to a break – it’s rather peculiar to think I was enrolling little over 3 months ago. Now I’m one sixth into my degree and still no closer to figuring out my dissertation. It might seem a long way still but after the struggle to get a grip over my last assignment I’ve learned my lesson.

I have always been a highly organised individual (although some might argue differently) and planning is all very well, but sticking to that plan is even more important, and the looser the deadline, the easier it is to get side-tracked. With the assignment, my main issue was focusing on the one topic of choice and restricting the endless amount of reading that could be done on that single subject. On a work environment you are rarely (if ever) allowed that luxury. You will seldom have a chore of choice and will likely find your directors and/or client (if you work in an agency) having you work against multiple deadlines.

So what of the part-time experience so far?

Admittedly it’s been harder than anticipated. Not so much because of the amount of work or research involved, it’s more so a question of pace. Ironically, being well accustomed to the fast-paced working environment, having this sudden ‘freedom’ to conduct research at my own time and speed has been the most challenging aspect of the degree. I always feel I could do with reading one more article, one more chapter before picking up the laptop and typing away.

This is something of an important reflection on the transition from education to employment which I seem to keep harping on about. Somewhat curiously, over the past couple of weeks I’ve been receiving University invitations to career sessions and events. Coincidence? Perhaps I’ve just being overly critical of the system – even if I do feel very little is done in terms of student support.

As for the exam I so viciously criticised on my last post? ‘Frustrating’ is a word that comes to mind. Not enough time for a handwritten examination. I mean who handwrites nowadays anyway? Sure, we all make notes and I’m the queen of handwritten ‘to do’ lists, but no one really handwrites in length in the 21st century. Some of my fellow classmates even take their laptops to make notes during lectures – I still resign to the old-fashioned pen and paper, but surely an exam could be conducted on a computer? It may sound like a petty complaint but thinking of the thousands of pounds invested in the degree I don’t find it an unreasonable request. It isn’t as though they’re preparing us for the ‘real world’ in having us handwrite our answers – I’ve not had to handwrite any piece in length for years now! 

I suppose it all comes down to preparation, it’s just some seem sillier and others downright pointless. But as Alexander Graham Bell first said: ‘Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.’

What do you think is the biggest challenge for working professionals in Postgraduate education? Get in touch!

 

 


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