A brief look at the life of a postgraduate…

Man sat in conversation with a dragonPostgraduate study is a totally different animal.

What do I mean by this? First of all, you are more mature and experienced than when you started your undergraduate studies. You should be more focussed as well. Which direction do you want to go in? Do you want to deepen your knowledge in a particular field? What are your long-term goals?

Two things stand out for me. First, question your motivation. Second, are you prepared to become a truly independent learner/ researcher?

This independence thing is worth scrutinising a bit more – never expect to feel immediately comfortable in these new shoes from the start. A lot has been written recently about feeling like an imposter.  For example, see this website on ‘imposter syndrome’. This makes interesting reading and everyone will take away different things. You might become aware of your perfectionism, your over-sensitivity towards criticism or your feelings towards other people’s success. Think about it! Talk about it!

Open bookAs a tip, write your own story(book): the challenges you are expecting, the choices you make, the outcomes you are expecting. Coupled with sensible timetabling, this should be a helpful tool for your time management as well as your reflections.

Even though I am stressing the independence (of thought, action, from others etc), realising that you are part of a bigger group while on your course and making good use of this, is essential. So, working and building good relationships with your peers and tutors, particularly your supervisor at later stages, needs to be planned well. Look for opportunities to ask questions, network, socialise.

RowersWalkers in IcelandSocialising can happen in a society or sports group. You will be surprised how well this fits into your busy week, once you start enjoying it and you get a buzz out of it. This, of course, then feeds into your motivation; a wonderful thing.

During your studies, allow for stops and starts without losing your momentum.

Last but not least – eat well, sleep well, and explore your natural environment.

A bit of yoga anyone?

Image reference: Image of walkers in Iceland reproduced from Pep’s Place under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 licence.

Anne is an Academic Skills tutor in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries.

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