Top Tips for managing the transition
My transition from undergraduate to Master’s study has been a challenging yet enjoyable journey. Here are some of my top tips for managing the transition from undergraduate to Master’s study at Newcastle University!
Changing my direction
After studying for my undergraduate degree in Politics and Sociology, the decision to transition into a Master’s course in Business Management was a major change in plans. I had planned to apply for graduate jobs and go straight into working life. Then, the coronavirus pandemic struck, and I decided to study a Master’s in International Business Management to broaden my career prospects.
I was not only nervous about studying a subject that I hadn’t studied before, but I was also nervous about moving to a new city and starting a new life. However, learning to manage my time, setting priorities, learning Geordie greetings and taking a break to socialise with friends have helped me overcome the challenges. Along with these strategies, I also found attending the student induction programme organised by my school to be very helpful. The induction programme helped me better understand the culture of the Business School and academic expectations at Master’s level.
Master’s study requires much more independent study and flexibility than undergraduate study. This is why time management and careful planning of study hours are essential for succeeding in a Master’s course. I cannot stress the importance of this point enough but getting a planner and having a study schedule will help visualise your life, and actually seeing it will make you stick to deadlines. Additionally, I have also found that having a set routine during the week and setting my own deadlines stops me from procrastinating.
After mastering time management and carefully planning out a study schedule, the next step is to decide what your focus is, in order to make the best use of your time. One strategy that works really well for me in meeting deadlines is having something to look forward to. I have recently discovered that I have a passion for academia and I’ve decided that I want to do a PhD in my favourite subject, following my Master’s. No matter how stressful it gets sometimes, even having the slightest idea of what I intend to do keeps me grounded.
Familiarise yourself with Newcastle University, the city and Geordie culture
Explore the campus, the city and the North East if you can. Immerse yourself in the local culture. Breath in Geordie. Newcastle is a multicultural city full of friendly people. There’s lots to do and see in one of the liveliest cities in the UK and familiarising yourself with the university and regional culture will give you a sense of belonging. A good place to start is to ‘lern yerself’ some Geordie!
Take a break and set some time aside for yourself
Last but not least, take a break and set some time aside for yourself. I know that this is so much easier said than done for most Master’s students, but this is a vital point to avoid burnout. Go for a walk, catch up with your friends/family, take a bath, read a good book or cook a nourishing meal for pleasure. Not only you will feel better for it, but you will also be more productive when you get back to work after resting your mind. Our brains are not productive machines designed to sit 8 hours a day staring at a screen.
Enjoy it… while it lasts!
As the saying goes, remember that your Master’s degree is not just about the destination (obtaining a Master’s degree), it’s about the journey (your growth during your Master’s course).
Remember that your education is much greater than your degree – this idea resonates with me even more since I’ve been studying my Master’s than it did in my undergraduate years. It is a great opportunity and privilege to study a postgraduate degree, so take some time to appreciate the journey!
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