Hindsight is always 20/20 so I wanted to share some of the things I wish I had known before I started my masters degree. If you’re new to my blog I have just completed my masters degree in Conservation from UCL and I recorded my journey with a series called becoming a master. Nevertheless here are five things I wish I had known before I started.
1 – Always start your assignments early. – You hear this piece of advice a lot at university, but when it comes to masters degree assignments they need more research than at undergraduate level which needs way more time. If you think you only need two weeks for an assignment double that for the amount of reading you need to do to go alongside!
2 – Go to careers events! – They might seem like a drag but your masters is normally only a year long and that year goes fast. Often these career events will allow you to see where you can go after your degree and what you need to do to get there.
3 – Talk to your lecturers – I was awful at doing this during my masters degree up until my dissertation, so learn from my mistakes! The best way to do well in assignments is to go and talk to the person whos marking it about what they’re really after. My masters assignments were often like the technical challenge in the great british bake off with very little information in the instructions. However, if you go and chat to your lecturers they will help! Also remember that your lecturers will often be your referees for job applications so it’s always good to make a great impression.
4 – Get Organised! – I spoke about organisation a lot during my weekly updates but honestly I think it’s the main thing that carried me through the masters process. Knowing exactly when you’re working, when deadlines are, and most importantly when you’re taking breaks is so important for keeping you as stress free as possible!
5 – Try and get some volunteer work in whilst not overloading yourself – I know it’s an enigma wrapped up in a conundrum to work out the right balance. But! Volunteering and getting work experience is so important for after your degree and landing a great job. Volunteering will allow you to find out whether a certain type of work will be right for you and it looks great on your CV. However, it’s important to note that a masters degree has a full time job time commitment so try and get the balance right!
I hope these pieces of advice will help you on your masters degree journey. I might write another post soon about choosing the right masters degree to begin with soon so if you’d find that helpful let me know!