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Education has always been something I valued very highly. I consider the possibility of going to university and studying to be such an extreme privilege and I always had a lot of fun learning new things at school or uni. Sometimes, life interferes, though, and pushed you in different directions than you once expected. Hence, I decided to put my Master’s degree on hold last winter and focus on work and my personal life for a bit. I knew that there was simply too much on my plate and I needed to take a step back.
One of my goals for 2020, though, is to get back into University and finish my Master’s degree. I do not yet know whether I want to finish English because at the moment I feel like it doesn’t really benefit my career, nor personal development. However, I am set to get a master’s and get back into education while I still have the possibility to do so very easily.
In this blog post, I am answering some of your frequently asked questions about my university career. At the end of the post, you’ll also find a little academic planner freebie to download and organize and your studying.
Maybe, like me, you are currently thinking about going back to university. Or maybe you’ve just finished your Bachelor’s degree and want to look into the possible Masters here in Austria or beyond. Then Master and More.at will maybe be very helpful for you right now. They offer a lot of information about master’s degrees being offered, financial aid and how to apply for your dream degree. There are plenty of resources on their website but they also hold an annual fair in Austria and Germany, called Master Messe.
Back to Uni – Frequently Asked Questions
Which field did you graduate in and how did you decide on it?
I did my Bachelor’s degree in English and American studies with a focus on Cultural studies, specifically Feminist discourse analysis. Before I signed up for the Bachelor’s, I started the teaching degree in English and Biology but quickly realized that I am not cut out to be a teacher. I switched my field of study after one year and graduated in English only. In 2018 I decided to pursue my Master’s degree in the same field and finished about half of the coursework in the degree already before decided to put it on hold for a few months.
Deciding on the Master’s degree was relatively easy for me back then, as I absolutely loved my field of study (especially in the end) and wanted to learn more. I specifically am interested in intercultural studies, feminist- and critical discourse analysis, hence focusing on cultural studies, rather than the language aspect of the course. While I am still curious to learn more and interested in the field, I think that I am doing a good job educating myself on the topics that matter to me through reading books and participating in the discourse.
Therefore, I am currently looking at all the possibilities out there. There may be a degree that I can use for my personal development, career and education and I simply haven’t heard of it. Maybe I want to go in a whole new direction. Especially with my move coming up, I need to figure out which degrees I could get in different universities. I find that sometimes you read the curriculum online and have literally no idea of what’s ahead of you. Thus, attending fairs such as the Master Messe in Graz and Vienna can help you in finding out what you want to do after you graduate and get to know more about the possible careers ahead of you.
The next “Master Messe” takes place on the 21st of January from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Alte Universität Graz.
What made you decide on going back to uni?
When I finished my bachelor’s degree I knew I needed a break. Not only did I want to gain some valuable work experience, but I also needed to escape the academic sphere and immerse myself in something new. So I started working full-time for a year. After a year, however, my freelance work and social media started to pick up pace and I decided to take the leap and pursue my dream. When I did that, I also realized that it was the perfect timing to also go back to university.
Was it hard for you to go back to Uni after the year off?
Actually, not at all. At the beginning of the semester, I was really excited about starting again. I made sure to stick to a university schedule that would not stress me out too much. I didn’t go back to university full-time at first but decided to do it as a side-project to my actual work. And that took away a lot of pressure for me. I signed up for classes on only two days of the week to make sure I wasn’t exaggerating my workload and stressing out myself.
In addition to that, I signed up for a language course at university in order to finally approach this challenge and learn the basics of French. So basically, I simply went back in very slowly. I made sure that my University experience was fun and interesting to me and tried not to put too much pressure on myself.
When and how do you plan to use your degree?
Honestly, no idea. I am studying English and American studies and to be frank, I think that this degree is more something that will benefit me personally, rather than help me find a job in Austria. The humanities are a tough choice if you want to have a career and earn a lot of money – I am sure everyone will tell you that. But I am also a firm believer that nothing you learn ever is a waste of time. Who knows what possibilities may come from me doing this course. I am simply doing it for myself, to be proud of my accomplishments and to broaden my horizon. I know this is a very privileged position to be in. However, I also have a few other plans up my sleeve. Just in case.
How not to get super stressed about exam period?
If someone knows an answer to this, please help! Honestly, I have no idea. I always try to make a thorough study plan beforehand and give myself enough time to be sure I can go through it all. However, once exam period approaches and I have to tackle five exams, two presentations, and one seminar paper within two weeks, I still stress about it. I think that is natural, isn’t it?
Could you share your study routine during the semester and during exam period? And can you please share your revision tips
During the semester it mostly boils down to attending lectures and seminars and taking clear notes. If I don’t manage to finish my notes in class, I usually finish them up in the evening or on the weekends. Whenever I miss a class I make sure to catch up with homework and the course schedule over the week. I made the mistake of not doing this once in my French class and was thrown totally off-guard the next week.
During exam period I make sure to stick to my routine.
- Create a study plan in advance and make sure to plan enough time for each exam.
- Summarize everything on the computer, focus and try to be precise while doing so.
- Print your summary, go through it and highlight the most important parts. If I don’t get a certain topic or feel like I still need more info I read it up and add it to the margins.
- Revision is key. But also make sure to schedule breaks. I figured that if I don’t do this, I tend to just read through my notes and not remember anything. Your brain needs time to relax in order to successfully store new information.
- Break up bigger tasks in smaller to-dos and schedule breaks in between. Whenever I have to write a paper, for example, I schedule a week for research, one for compiling my findings and one for writing up the paper itself. After that, I usually still have about one week to either use as free days in between the work-process or to go through the paper again and correct it.
How do you manage work and studying with a busy schedule?
It is tough. However, I am in the lucky position to have a rather free work schedule. So what usually happens during exam period simply is that I have no weekend anymore and schedule work time around study time. My brain works best in the mornings so I try to schedule studying up until around two p.m.. Then I have a quick lunch break, go to the gym, meet friends or just relax before starting to work in the afternoons and evenings. I would recommend having a fixed schedule for both, work and studying, though. If you work all Saturday – like I used to do for ten years – do not force yourself to revise after. Simply, take the evening off and enjoy some free time and use your Sunday for studying. It is all about balance, time-management, and planning.