Grad School, Personal

Life as a Master’s Student (So Far).

Assalamualaikum, and hello 🙂

I thought I could do a personal, non-Fresh Grad related post for once. I mean, it is a personal blog, but I think I’ve somehow kept away from writing personal posts for a while. Not sure why things have changed on the blog and all, but I somehow miss writing about personal things here.

Anyhow. I wanted to write something on the blog, and figured that, hey, I could probably write a little about how my life as a master’s student has been so far. I’ve probably shared some of these in my bi-weekly newsletter (you can read more and subscribe here!), but it’s probably also a good idea to jot it down permanently on the blog.

Making the most out of my time here.

Master’s programs are relatively short. In my case, I’m doing a one-year MA Education program. Compared to my 4-year undergraduate degree, one year is going to fly by quickly. With dissertation taking up at least 3 months of my time, that doesn’t really leave me with much free time.

That’s one of the reasons why I told myself that while I’m here, I’m going to (try) to make the most out of my time here. To do as much things as I could, as much as possible. It’s a little hard, I admit, juggling the amount of reading and self-learning that is expected from a Master’s student. But I’m doing okay.

Recently, the Huddersfield Students’ Union ran their annual elections, and I got to be a part of it. No, I didn’t run for student elections (I did consider it, but decided not to for personal reasons). I helped out a friend who was running in the elections, and, I got to say, it was a refreshing experience.

Huddersfield Students' Union Elections 2019 life as a master's student
With the #Nurin4theWin crew.

I’ve always been the kind of person who likes to hide in the background, doing things behind the curtains and not putting myself out there. So being involved in the elections first-hand is a new thing for me to do. It’s definitely a little awkward going around campus being all “HEY EVERYONE, DON’T FORGET TO VOTE” and all, but it was a good experience.

Taking the initiative to do a little bit more.

I can say that so far, I’m happy of what I’ve achieved or done since I came to Huddersfield. It’s been about six months since I came, and I’ve done a lot more than what I thought I would before I came.

To briefly sum it up:

  1. I started a new society on campus called the Blog & Vlog Society. It was a spur of the moment thing, and I’m happy to have Nurin to help me out with it. It’s still small, but at least now there’s a platform for people who blog/vlog to meet up and learn new things together.
  2. I became an academic rep for my program, and help start an academic society for it. It was mainly because we (the other reps and I) felt like there wasn’t much opportunity for the master’s students to meet up and get to know each other outside of class. This was just started a few weeks ago, so there are still lots of things to work on.
  3. I joined the basketball club here on campus. It’s been good being back on the court, and helps me to meet other people aside from my classmates and other Malaysians.
  4. I was a part of a Women in Leadership programme under the Huddersfield Students’ Union. Nurin recommended me to join it, and it was a fun experience. Happy to learn from other female students about their aspirations and passion.
  5. Choreographed the zapin dance for Malindo Night during Global Week 2019. Also participated in other events during Global Week, like the basketball tournament for World of Sports and the International Fashion Show.
  6. Joined T’Hud (the student media on campus) as a writer/editor. Read some of my articles here.
life as a master's student - global week award night
With Tabitha, Nurin and Alan during the Global Week Awards Night

Being challenged academically is both fun and exhausting.

Now, I’ve wrote before about how I’ve been having an inferiority complex at times last term. I still do feel this way sometimes, but I’m getting better at managing it. It certainly feels weird being in a class where most of them are at least 5-10 years older than me, with a lot more experiences and knowledge. Most of them certainly know what they’re doing and writing about, but here I am, struggling to figure out where life will take me.

But I’m okay. It’s getting better this term, mainly because I actually did pretty well last term, despite feeling like shit for 90% of the time. I (somehow) managed to get a a distinction for one of my core modules last term. It was for my Critical Social Policy module, where I wrote a 6,000 words assignment on PPSMI in Malaysia.

It wasn’t my best work, I admit. I didn’t put in enough effort as I should’ve, so I was really surprised when I found out that I got a distinction for it. My other module last term scored a merit, which was still okay, considering how I probably spent like 30% of my time on it versus 70% on my core module.

For my Master’s program, a 50% is a pass, 60% is a merit, and 70+% is a distinction. My average for the two modules from last term was a 71.5%, so I actually did pretty okay. I’m on the low-end of the distinction, but, hey, it’s a distinction nonetheless, so I’m happy about it.

Changing “I can’t” to “I can”.

Thinking about how I managed to score an average of a distinction for last term, despite the multiple breakdowns and endless “f@$#-ups” thoughts that I had, really made things a lot better for me this term. Having that gives me somewhat better motivation, seeing as I at least have an idea of what I need to do to get a distinction score. It also gives me the feeling that “Yes, I can do this”, despite all the shitty thoughts in my head that said I can’t.

I’m a long way from what I wanted to be, but I’m okay. I’m slowly making my way up, and that’s good progress.

All in all, I can say that so far, my life as a master’s student has been a good and much needed challenge. It’s going to get tough over the summer, with dissertation and all, but I’m going to make it through. I know I can make it through OK, because I have the support system that I need to push through this.

I think that should be it for now. It’s actually 4am in the morning here, and I need to be at work in about 9 hours. So I probably should head to bed to get some sleep.

Until next time, stay awesome and take care 🙂

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