I graduated in September 2014, it was the proudest day of my life. I stood on the stage and received my American Studies and History degree with my family there cheering and clapping in the beautiful Lincoln Cathedral. The people conducting the ceremony told us not to look out into the main hall – just in case we would suddenly felt faint or got stage fright, but I still did. I looked to my left and I was in front of what seemed like an endless sea of people, it was mesmerising. This is was the culmination of all my hard work. I walked away with a 2:1 in American Studies and History.
That was it. The ceremony, studying and experience was over. I never thought I would be back at University again.
Fast forward two years – this past September I returned to start a postgraduate course. I will be honest with you, I was very nervous. Not only did I decide to come back after working and a long layoff academically, I decided to take up a subject that was different to my Bachelor’s degree.
There might be students reading this right now thinking about doing a postgraduate course – even if the subject is different to their undergraduate studies, I can confirm that it is possible.
In my classes I have met people who have studied a wide range of subjects at undergraduate level. From science to politics it is possible to succeed because you have the skills necessary, including research, writing, critical thinking, and analysis. Even if you have already graduated and may not have used all those skills entirely since then, you will always have them at your disposal.
What was stopping me over two years ago, was the lack of options for financing. After talking to my tutor at the time, I was heartbroken. I found out it was very difficult to obtain any funding and my only options were through bursaries and scholarships. However, with the possibility to receive a student loan to help fund your postgraduate degree, that is no longer a problem. You can borrow as much as £10,000 with approval.
When I finally started in September, my first seminar was at the student village hall. The room was right outside Court 15, which I stayed in my first year. It was surreal. It brought back so many memories. I couldn’t believe it, I was back.
But this time I was a lot older and wiser – but a bit anxious about starting. Nevertheless, after a few lessons, it was like I had never left. My tutors and course mates made me feel right back at home – focused and relaxed about taking the next step in my education and hopefully in my career.
I have loved meeting even more people this time around, both tutors and course mates, who I hope to keep in touch with after my MA finishes – and bumping into old tutors is always great for a catch-up.
So, to those who are thinking that studying a postgraduate course would be beneficial – go for it! If you want to do something outside of your undergraduate studies, you can do it. If you were worried about financing your course, now you can. Even if you have been away from studying, you will get back into the swing of things once again and if you would like to do a course, it is now a realistic option.