Moving from Undergrad to Postgrad - Hello Student

Moving from Undergrad to Postgrad

The transition from undergraduate to postgraduate will most likely have been billed to you as a big step up. The workload gets larger, the amount of study needed to get to the required level gets steeper, and the amount of free time you have drops exponentially.

Whilst the transition is a large one, it is not nearly as scary as everyone expects. More importantly, there are ways in which you can make the change smoother for yourself, and make studying a postgraduate course not only bearable, but enjoyable.

By Connor Higgs – MA History, The University of Nottingham

A summer of fun

Don’t spent the summer between undergraduate and postgraduate panic reading every book you can get your hands on that you feel relates to the course you will be doing. Chances are, your new course mates will not be doing the same.

The summer before postgrad is a time to celebrate a successful undergraduate, and mentally recharging after what is often a gruelling final year. Going on a large holiday, taking in a summer festival, or even just sitting and not looking at a textbook for a few months will leave you with a fresher outlook come September.

Hit the ground running

Come September, however, it is always good to start preparing for your PG. After a summer spent enjoying freedom, this shouldn’t be as taxing as it would be. Speak to tutors early and get a flavour of what you could be reading. For my particular postgraduate course, MA History, it made sense to read books on historical theory, which we knew would be explored on a deeper level than in undergraduate.

July and August will be lonely, so fill it with work

Unless you happen to be doing an Integrated Masters, which will feel very similar in set-up to your ‘undergraduate’, your MA will be a twelve-month course. Although those on your course will still be around, those in your friendship groups from years below will be gone by the end of June.

July and August are quiet around campus, but that means it is the perfect time to nab that prime spot in the library and hit the books hard, in preparation for your dissertation or research project.

Don’t be afraid to take breaks

Postgraduate don’t spend all of their time in the library or asleep. The number of impromptu nights out before a 9am seminar will have to drop dramatically, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy a Friday night at the local student nightclub while you still can.

For a lot of people, postgraduate is your final years of university, so also make the most of the cheap drinks and cheesy music before jumping into the world of work. ‘Accidentally’ watch a whole season of a show you’ve been putting off watching. As with the summer before, your mental state will only be helped by this.

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