Now we’re firmly into the New Year and I make the return trip to Plymouth after the Xmas break, I can’t help but reflect on my first semester studying my masters. I often find having a break away from the city gives me a bit of a fresh perspective on my life in Plymouth and I thought I’d use my train journey to get a few of my thoughts down for this blog post.
Firstly, it’s a cliché I know… but time has really flown by. September simultaneously feels like forever and only a few weeks ago. The masters is an intense period of study, whilst lecture time itself is only a portion of that, there is a considerable amount of reading and coursework that we are expected to complete which is very demanding on the rest of our time. That’s to be expected of course, there’s a lot to learn in a short space of time, and time management is a really important skill to develop in order to keep up with it all. Deadlines come round quick and the months fly by fast. When I think about it though, I have really learnt a lot in a short space of time, and from having next to no knowledge of the UK planning system at the beginning, I feel like I’ve come a long way.
This leads onto my next point, it’s good to learn again! I know that academia, and studying could be some people’s idea of a nightmare and but for me, I forgot how much I enjoyed learning new things and having my point of view and opinions of the world challenged. As I already said, I came onto the masters knowing very little about what an urban/rural planner does or why the planning system is so important. I know a lot more than I did, and could probably explain all that pretty well now, but I’m under no illusion that there is still so much to get my head around! Planning affects everything and everyone and has the capacity to impact upon so many of the economic, social and environmental dimensions that influence all of us. It really feels like I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface, and that’s exciting for me.
In terms of coming back to education, and as a few of my earlier posts have touched upon, I also feel that the resources and support in making that transition back to uni have been really accessible and varied so as to best meet my own personal needs. A few weeks ago I had a meeting with a careers advisor who is part of the in-house careers team at Plymouth and the meeting was really helpful in giving me some hints and pointers in how I could maximise my limited time to start looking for jobs for when I complete the programme. Any time that I feel like I need someone to look over my c.v or help me with a particular job application, I only need to ring up or drop in to their office to make an appointment and I can usually see someone that day.
The first semester has certainly been a challenge (as I’d kind of expected), but I’ve never felt too out of my depth and as my train speeds me back through the South West to get back to work after the break, I’m feeling quietly optimistic ready to get stuck back in to the next leg of the programme!