A Backwards Gap
Published: 18 Dec 2013
Christmas tidings have brought life to an almost manic pace. Forget Christmas shopping (which I have dutifully neglected), work has been busy enough to keep me awake at nights, ironically thinking of ways to optimise my time. If 9 hours a day isn’t normally enough to put a dent into my daily activities, the ominous prospect of two modules next term has spurred me early into action – aside from having to entertain visiting family I’ve decided to get a head start into next term by looking at some key readings and (still rather frustratingly) practicing a continuous pace of speedy handwriting.
I’ve come to realise that more than the freedom to work at my own leisure, what I struggled with the most so far has been a certain lack of preparation to University life. Not the degree itself, but the format of the course. And I don’t believe this is exclusive to my University either; instead it seems to make a statement about the readiness of working professionals to academic life.
Admittedly I probably took the whole thing a bit for granted. At work you are time-constrained but have a certain creative liberty, whereas in Postgraduate study you are expected to fall into a pre-defined pattern – a mould if you will – even if you have considerably more time at your disposal.
The transition from work to University is therefore almost something of a backwards gap – as graduates are readying themselves for a professional career in the sports industry I’m hyping myself up with techniques to handwrite at length. I never expected the adjustment to be seamless and consider it part of the learning experience and, ultimately, what I signed up for; but am I unnecessarily swimming against the tide? And more importantly, is Postgraduate study better suited for recent graduates?
The indication so far is ‘yes’ and that hardly seems like a shocking revelation. However it brings forward larger questions about the necessity of students taking up Postgraduate degrees before properly commencing their professional careers, the real purpose (and value) of MBAs, and whether Postgraduate education is worth pursuing by professionals already established in their trades. I don’t mean to sound pedantic but if MBAs are pursued as a stepping stone in a person’s career should there even be a transitional gap? Should Postgrad study not be structured in a way to best suit all?
It's curious to think how the audience has shifted considerably from perhaps 10... 20 years ago? My parents, for instance, were really only ever interested in getting a Master's degree in their 40's whereas nowadays classrooms are primordially populated by 20-year-olds. Is perhaps this veer in audience reflective of course structure or are degrees naturally adapting to the needs of their larger market? Or is there no correlation at all?
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