Completing your Post-graduate degree- advice from a survivor

Hello everyone,

Sorry for the delay in posting this blog, but I have been unwell so I am a bit behind with this blog, but I hope you find this useful.

As the summer course rages on, I know that there are quite a few students who are getting to the ‘business end’ of their course. Of course, some of you who are completing a post-graduate degree you have until September to complete or submit your final few assignments of bits of work.

From experience, this was probably the most difficult part of my post-graduate course because I was used to finishing in July and having the summer to recover but a master’s is more intense in this respect. It is draining and hard work but I thought it would be good to give you a few tips to help you get through the final few months of your post-graduate degree.

1. Manage your time well.

Make sure you space your work out well so that you don’t have to do a few mad all-nighters in order to get the work complete. So make sure you make some good foundations of work so that you are not too stressed and pressed for your deadline.

2. Don’t spend hours typing away.

I am aware that assessment varies form course to course, and this links in with my first point.  For my course I had to write a thesis, so I had to spend time typing it up but, it is not useful to spend hours on end typing away because the quality of your work may start to decline as you get tired. So set weekly targets and make sure that you are not simply typing away for hours on end.

3. Eat healthy.

Stress and long work hours can mean that you want to turn to convenience food and comfort food to get you through. While a few treats may be useful, it is important to eat well and healthy. I know that when I submitted my master’s thesis I had gained 2 stone and my diet was not great to say the least! It then took me 2 years to get the weight off and amend my diet. I was also really fatigued after I submitted, and I believe that had my diet been better my health would have been a lot better.

4. Schedule treats and breaks into your work plan.

You do need to get the work done and submit but you also need to have some down time in order to keep you invigorated and fresh for your work. Make sure you take walks or exercise regularly and see your friends and family. This will help keep stress levels down and give you something to look forward to when you are in the throes of work and deadlines.

5. Think beyond your course.

I know this is probably the last thing that you would want to think about as you are working away on your thesis or bit of work. But from experience, it is better to apply for jobs as early as you can. After I completed my master’s I was unemployed for 6 months and applying for work was at times a bit dis-heartening. So apply early, but don’t spread yourself too thin. Perhaps a good compromise is to look around and maybe apply for a few things or posts but ensure that your master’s work comes first. This is a good way to break up your work but don’t get too bogged down with applications.

Completing a post-graduate degree is difficult, but it is doable. Hopefully these tips will be helpful but I think the key thing is to manage your time as best as you can. It is difficult but as long as you work hard, your efforts will be rewarded in the end.

Thank you for reading!!!

Joanna Wolton

I am a PhD student in the Centre for Innovative Ageing within the College of Human and Health Sciences. I hope this blog is insightful and gives you some tips and information about what it is like to be a student living in Swansea.

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