I Don’t Know If I Should Continue My Masters Or Not
by Joycelyn Ong. |
I recently completed my Masters last month and it has been quite a journey. I could still recall the discussions with my family, lecturers, friends on whether I should proceed to do my Masters upon graduation, my personal moments of doubt and internal struggles that I faced before I eventually signed up for it.
Whether you are graduating soon or currently working, and thinking about the prospects of doing a Masters, here are several points to ponder before you decide to proceed or not.
1. Be honest with yourself
Choosing to pursue a Masters is after all a MAJOR decision. It involves your money, effort and time. For some, it is something to consider right after your degree whereas for some, it weighs slightly more because it means a job resignation and a temporary goodbye to a stable income.
Whether you are a fresh degree graduate or someone who has worked for a little while, you should be sure of the reason why you pursue a Masters’ degree. Ask yourself the questions below for a start.
Your Master's degree could be a continuation of your first degree, or it could be a totally different field. That being said, it must be something you are really interested in order to be totally worth your own investment and personal satisfaction.
Are you trying to escape from the job-hunting process/ your current work situation? First scenario: “If I cannot find a job, I will just do my Masters.”
Beware of falling into the Plan B trap after graduation. Masters should not be viewed as your “spare tire” if you want to avoid the responsibility of committing to a job.
Pursuing a Masters degree is as serious as a full-time job. You will have deadlines to cover, meetings with your supervisors, course mates, other researchers and occasionally local or international conferences to attend. The schedule may vary from day to day or it could be repetitive. One major difference is your job is a student and you are not paid for this “job” in monetary form.
The second, scenario” “I feel trapped at my current job now so let’s just go back to studying.”
While you may be temporarily “free” from work, you have to be mentally prepared for a different course of studying, loads of independent study and the absence of a stable salary offered by your previous job for a period of time(should you quit your job and pursue a full-time Masters).
2. Research about the Masters program that you intend to pursue
This sounds like a common-sense advice. But given the many choices of Masters degree in today’s postgraduate education market, it is best to take some time to list down the types of Masters you want to study, the university that is offering the course, the duration of the course and of course, the cost of the whole program. The first thing to consider is whether you are pursuing a full time or part-time Masters program.
Choosing a full-time program means that you are most probably not tied up to a 9 to 5-day job whereas a part-time Masters program means that you may have to juggle between a full-time job and your classes, assignments and dissertation which will cause the duration of your program to be longer.
The second thing to consider is the nature of the Masters program. Among the most common options would be a coursework based program (assignments or examination based with minor emphasis on dissertation), a fully research-based program (heavily focused on a longer, deeper dissertation writing) and the mixed-mode program (a blend of both coursework and research). It is important to select the right Masters program according to your time availability, financial ability and preferred studying method.
The third thing to consider is the university or colleges that you plan to further your studies at. This is an important decision because many universities appear to offer a similar program (for instance, Mass Communication) but their programs may vary based on different specialization.
Another aspect to take into account is whether you plan to study locally or overseas. This will probably decide how much is required for the rough expenses to pay your fees, accommodation and other expenditures.
As you find out about this information, you will be able to decide the most suitable time for you to start applying (whether it is right after graduation, or after saving for a few years at work) and the different intakes available in a year (for those who are still working). If you plan to pursue your Masters overseas, you could also look into inquiring about information on a student visa or scholarship application.
Tip: It is important not to feel financially overwhelmed while pursuing your Masters.
3. Think about the outcome you want to achieve through your Masters
Like your first degree, your Master's degree will eventually come to an end. While some may continue their postgraduate studies, eventually you need to make your Masters count in the job market. Will your Masters be able to help you in your future career? Will you be able to enjoy what you have learnt and apply it upon graduation?
Taking a Masters could be for the purpose of career advancement for your current job, a passion that you want to learn more and develop further for future ventures, or for some, a pathway to the academia and education field (such as lecturers and researchers).
Would it be beneficial with what you have planned for your career or your current career?
Benjamin Frankin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Remember that if you eventually decide to pursue a Masters, education remains the main priority. If you choose not to, all is well too.
You may find out more about Joycelyn on her Instagram too.