University

Is a postgraduate necessary?

The Growing Up Guide

It’s that time of year.

The university year is coming to an end, apart from the odd lecture, final essays, presentations, and exams.

For many of you, you may be graduating this year and thinking about your options upon that. You can go into the world of work, take a gap year or consider studying a masters degree.

Before we look into the pros and cons of taking a masters, I thought I’d share my background of university study.

In September 2012, I ended up studying Marketing at Hull University, my hometown uni. I won’t lie, I didn’t particularly enjoy the course.

I really wanted to study Journalism but just wasn’t ready to leave home at 19. However, it meant I could live at home, keep my old job and save for driving lessons and then a car.

After graduating, I commuted to Sheffield four days a week to undertake a Journalism qualification for six months. I loved learning how to write for different publications and acquiring new skills.

The media industry is a difficult world to get into. After taking some work experience, a lot of online freelance work and balancing it all with my retail job, I was still unable to find a journalism job 18 months later.

It was in May 2017 that I went along to a workshop about sports broadcasting as part of the Radio 1 Academy in Hull where BBC Breakfast host, Dan Walker spoke about taking a Postgraduate (PG) course in Journalism.

He inspired me to give myself one last chance to further my career and rejuvenate my passion. Within three months, I applied and was accepted to do my Masters in Sports Journalism at Sheffield Hallam University.

Studying for a Master’s degree should not be taken lightly. You need to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.

Wanting a change of career or to specialize in your industry or field is a valid reason. It is a lot of hard work to study a Postgrad degree; you have to cram in a lot of work within a short space of time.

You might also want to consider studying part-time to allow you to work more hours alongside your studies.

A Master’s degree is not cheap. Yes, you can apply for student finance but the maximum you can loan is £10,280. Out of this, you are expected to pay for your degree, rent and living costs.

My course alone is £6,400, leaving me £3,880 to live off.

Ultimately though, it depends on the career or industry you want to work in.

Some require a Masters, some don’t. You have to be passionate about the subject you’ll be studying because a lot of work is required to do well.

You will probably have less free time because of the amount of study needed, especially if you plan on working alongside your Postgrad degree too. You probably won’t spending five nights a week out drinking because you will be too exhausted too!

You tend to take life and your studies more seriously as a Masters student.

If you are considering studying for a Masters, make sure you go to an open day and speak to students and staff to see what it is like on the course you’d be applying for. Staff will treat you like an adult because they will be more like your peers than your teachers.

If you’re planning on moving to a new city, visit it for a day or a long weekend and scope out the area. Look at privately owned student accommodation and have an idea of how much it will cost to live there, maybe book a few viewings if you can.

I personally wanted my own flat so I could have my own space 24/7 and opted for a studio so consider where you want to live and if you want company or not.

Sit down and discuss it with your nearest and dearest. It might sound old-school but draw up a list of pros and cons. Decide whether to progress straight from your Undergraduate degree or to take some time out and work first.

Many Postgrad courses don’t have a closing date for applications but make sure to check!

I didn’t apply until June for my course and managed to get everything sorted within the two months between applying and moving.

Holding on to the ‘student lifestyle’ a little longer may seem appealing but weigh up all your options first.

Studying for a Master’s degree is not a walk in the park; it requires more independent study so decide whether that’s something you’d be up for.

The most important thing is to research as much as you can. Research the course, the university as a whole, accommodation, general living costs, the city you’ll be living in, job prospects upon graduation.

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