Why I Chose to go Back to University to do a Master'sby Amy
Deciding to undertake a Master’s degree after three years of hard work as an undergraduate student can be an intimidating decision. However, it turned out to be the best decision I have ever made.
I loved my Media, Communication and Cultural Studies degree at Newcastle University. Even with the stress and long days in the library, I never once felt I had made the wrong decision, because the hard work and long days were all worth the end result and the sense of achievement when I graduated.
How do you know if you're up to the challenge?
The experience I had as an undergraduate student gave me the confidence to challenge myself and undertake another year of study, to benefit my career and further build my CV.
After leaving sixth form, I was unsure if further education was the right step for me. However, after three years of undergraduate study, I proved to myself that hard work pays off and I developed a passion for further education.
Consequently, in October of my third and final year as an undergraduate student, I began to think that a Master’s might be the next best step for me.
What factors contributed to your decision?
Even though during my undergraduate degree, I had gained work experience, more skills for my CV and earned high marks on my assessments, I wanted to learn more and broaden my knowledge.
I had learnt a lot from my undergraduate degree. But after being a sub-editor for The Courier, Newcastle University's student newspaper, for over a year, I decided that a career in journalism was what I was passionate about.
Consequently, I began working towards that ambition with my extracurricular activities. Then, I started looking at a Master’s degree in media and journalism.
Why did you choose Newcastle University?
After deciding I was interested in potentially undertaking a Master’s degree, it took me a while to officially make my decision.
I just knew I wasn't ready to leave the University or the city. Therefore, I did not look at going to other universities and their Open Days, instead I focused all my research on Newcastle University and their postgraduate options.
I knew that if I was going to undertake another year of further education, I would definitely stay at Newcastle University. I had such an amazing experience as an undergraduate student and already had a deep love for the city,
How did you choose your Master's degree?
Firstly, I did research into the funding of a Master’s degree, as understanding how the funding worked for another degree was an important factor.
Other than deciding which Master’s degree was best for me, the finance part was a very important consideration, too. Once I found I could fund my degree, I booked myself on a Postgraduate Open Day at Newcastle University.
Attending open days
During the Open Day, I attended talks on student finance applications, and a talk on Journalism degrees in the Media, Culture and Heritage department with staff from postgraduate journalism degrees. Then, after taking notes and collecting resources I spoke to my family and did a little more research.
Speaking with academic staff & existing students
To find out more information, I spoke to the academic staff from the Media, Culture and Heritage department, and also found students who were currently undertaking Media and Journalism MA and asked for their honest opinions. This was really helpful as I was able to get honest reviews of the course.
Media and Journalism was highly recommended to me from numerous students, specifically because of the variety of modules and being able to tailor it more for your own career direction.
I highly recommend speaking to people who are currently on the course you are interested in, as you will get honest opinions and can ask questions you might not be comfortable asking academic staff.
Weighing up my options
After all this research, I then examined the pros and cons. It is - after all - an extra year of tuition fees and living costs. However, after weighing up all the information, I found that doing a Media and Journalism Master’s degree would benefit me greatly, So, I researched how to apply and made a start on my application.
Giving yourself plenty of time to decide whether a Master’s degree is for you is something I highly recommend. I gave myself plenty of time to do research and spoke to the right people and, thankfully for me, it was the best decision I could have made.
Undertaking a Master’s degree has given me the confidence I need to enter the highly saturated journalism sector.
Now I have such a confident knowledge of the style of writing editors prefer, and the methods of a sub-editor. My Master’s degree allowed me to undertake more practical modules, and gain experience and skills I would not have developed otherwise.
Without choosing to go back to university, I would not have the extensive portfolio of work I now possess, nor would I have developed the range of skills needed to work in my dream career.
If you're still unsure about studying a Master's or you're weighing up your options, why not read Kristina's latest blog post on all the thing she lost and gained by studying a Master's degree?
Published By Amy on 08/06/2020 | Last Updated 18/03/2022