Following on from my previous blog post, which explained why I first chose to come to the University of Plymouth, I thought I would write about my decision to study a postgraduate degree. As you can see from the cheesy picture below (which somehow made it into one of the University’s graduation videos) getting my History BA degree meant the world to me. It was one of the first things I had properly accomplished in my life, and I loved every second of my undergraduate degree.
After graduating I decided to give myself a break from education. I had already decided that I wanted to go back to University, but I wanted to gain some work experience. I worked in retail for a year and I made some great friends, however, I missed that itch of working towards something. I got in touch with the University and my old lecturers about the possibility of doing a postgraduate degree. They were so helpful, providing me with information about the different courses available to me and making sure that I could make the best decision. They also made me aware of the funding that I could apply for, the government had just introduced a £10,000 postgraduate loan and because I had studied at Plymouth previously I qualified for an alumni discount!
The best thing about studying as a postgraduate student is how everything is tailored to you. When I first returned to the University I was enrolled on a full time Masters course, however, after the first week I realised that I could not handle the intensive work load (I did not want to give up my retail job and the friends that I had made there). The faculty staff were so kind and understood my situation completely. I was soon enrolled as a part time student, which suited the hours that I had wanted to do and meant I could continue to work alongside my degree.
Despite my initial worries, studying part time did not mean that I was isolated. Throughout the last year and a half I have made some great friends who share my enthusiasm for history. We have held many get-togethers and have chatted about key issues such as, whether being a history student requires you to know all the words to Billy Joel’s ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’.
Studying at postgraduate level has also meant that I have experienced a change in teaching style, I have been encouraged to develop my own opinions by my tutors. This has given me greater confidence and, through encouragement from lecturer, I decided to study abroad for the first time this year in Holland. This is the main reason why I cannot recommend postgraduate study enough, it gives you the chance to study in an environment of like-minded people who want you to grow, and who will support you in doing so.
If you are interested in postgraduate study, attending an open evening is a great way to find out more - www.plymouth.ac.uk/study/open-days/postgraduate-open-evening.