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Going back to University after a gap year! Any advice?

Does anyone have any advice for returning to University after a gap year of working? I am starting my Master's degree in September. Since I graduated with my Undergrad, I've worked full-time in a non-degree-related job. Undoubtedly, I need to refresh my knowledge surrounding my Master's degree, especially as it isn't directly linked to my Undergrad. But also, things like losing out on the wage I was earning before and adjusting to a new routine (as my current job can have me on shifts from 5 am-4 am) are making me anxious. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, even if just words of encouragement!
Original post by ebonyblakely
Does anyone have any advice for returning to University after a gap year of working? I am starting my Master's degree in September. Since I graduated with my Undergrad, I've worked full-time in a non-degree-related job. Undoubtedly, I need to refresh my knowledge surrounding my Master's degree, especially as it isn't directly linked to my Undergrad. But also, things like losing out on the wage I was earning before and adjusting to a new routine (as my current job can have me on shifts from 5 am-4 am) are making me anxious. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, even if just words of encouragement!

Hey @ebonyblakely :biggrin: Congrats on heading back to uni this year! Which course are you going to study?

It's normal to have all these nerves around starting back but it sounds like it's something you really want to do, otherwise you wouldn't be doing it! Remember all of the reasons why you've decided to go back and the benefits this new PG programme will bring you - more knowledge, more skills and more opportunities to meet people and build your network and passion in your chosen field. PG study is really rewarding and I'm sure there's lots that you're excited for even if the nerves are there too :smile:

I think my biggest piece of advice would link to the above - remember your *why* for studying your PG course and use that to try build some excitement. Maybe visit your chosen uni campus before September and make a day of familiarising yourself with the campus before you start? This'll help you get used to the commute and the routine a little bit before you start and might make you feel a bit less anxious about starting.

Organisation will also be a big one - with both your finances and your course work. Think about your budget and how it will differ in the coming year and work out the most effective use of your time and money. When I was at uni I'd look at my budget at the start of each month and do some forward planning so I knew what was covered and what was spare. This made me feel way more in control of my finances and I wish I'd started it a bit sooner.

You won't be the only one in your cohort that's nervous but you'll figure things out as you go along. Good luck!! :hugs:

- Caitlin :h:
Official University of Strathclyde Rep
Reply 2
Thank you, Caitlin! I'll be studying Violence, Security and Terrorism at Queen's University Belfast.

I really appreciate the advice! The budgeting idea is so useful as I can tend to be quite sporadic with the extra income I've had the past year. I'm a local to Belfast so visit the campus area frequently and absolutely love the whole vibe. I have a webinar today so will be asking lots of questions about the course to really remind myself of the passion I feel for the subject! Hoping to connect with some people there but if not, there's so much time to get myself geared up for the next year of writing, reading, socialising and hopefully having the best Master's experience!

Thanks again for taking the time to respond!
- Ebony
Original post by ebonyblakely
Thank you, Caitlin! I'll be studying Violence, Security and Terrorism at Queen's University Belfast.

I really appreciate the advice! The budgeting idea is so useful as I can tend to be quite sporadic with the extra income I've had the past year. I'm a local to Belfast so visit the campus area frequently and absolutely love the whole vibe. I have a webinar today so will be asking lots of questions about the course to really remind myself of the passion I feel for the subject! Hoping to connect with some people there but if not, there's so much time to get myself geared up for the next year of writing, reading, socialising and hopefully having the best Master's experience!

Thanks again for taking the time to respond!
- Ebony


@ebonyblakely Amazing! That sounds really interesting, congrats!! :smartass: I visit Belfast quite often and I absolutely love it - what a great place to be a student :smile: And the Queen's campus is so lovely.

Hope the webinar went well and you're feeling a bit more reassured about starting!

- Caitlin :h:
Official University of Strathclyde Rep
(edited 11 months ago)
Original post by ebonyblakely
Does anyone have any advice for returning to University after a gap year of working? I am starting my Master's degree in September. Since I graduated with my Undergrad, I've worked full-time in a non-degree-related job. Undoubtedly, I need to refresh my knowledge surrounding my Master's degree, especially as it isn't directly linked to my Undergrad. But also, things like losing out on the wage I was earning before and adjusting to a new routine (as my current job can have me on shifts from 5 am-4 am) are making me anxious. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, even if just words of encouragement!

Hey @ebonyblakely, how are you? :smile:

Just wanted to check in and offer some more words of encouragement for you!

I'd say to just embrace the opportunity as doing a Master's course is such a valuable investment in your education and future career. Like you say you can refresh your knowledge surrounding your master's degree, so review relevant materials, textbooks, or online resources to try get back into that academic mindset. You could consider reaching out to professors or current students in your programme for advice, recommended readings, resources etc. Come September if you need any extra assistance in adjusting to academic life again just know that there'll be lots of academic support available at the uni :smile:

Is there a way you can try connecting with your cohort? Maybe the university has pg communities on social media for instance, or if there's any orientation events etc? Just engaging in conversations with peers can help easy any anxiety you may be feeling.

Create a study routine that works for you, and establish boundaries to ensure you have dedicated time for both academic pursuits and personal activities. So important to find that work life balance, and make sure you're keeping on top of looking after you.

Just remember, you've already gained valuable skills and experience during your gap year. Your real-world experience can bring lots of unique perspective to your studies! Stay positive and believe in yourself! I wish you the best of luck for your master's, you've got this!

Becky
Original post by ebonyblakely
Does anyone have any advice for returning to University after a gap year of working? I am starting my Master's degree in September. Since I graduated with my Undergrad, I've worked full-time in a non-degree-related job. Undoubtedly, I need to refresh my knowledge surrounding my Master's degree, especially as it isn't directly linked to my Undergrad. But also, things like losing out on the wage I was earning before and adjusting to a new routine (as my current job can have me on shifts from 5 am-4 am) are making me anxious. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, even if just words of encouragement!

Hi there,
Firstly, it's great that you're taking this big step and heading back to uni. I took time out before my undergrad and definitely found it daunting heading back into education after a break. However, there's so much you can do to help adjust back into uni life. I'd say it's a good idea to refresh your knowledge. See what reading you have for your course and look back at your undergrad notes (if you're studying something similar) to refresh your memory.

Aside from your degree, see if there are any postgrad communities at your university. This could be in the form of groups on social media (official or unofficial). Take a look at societies - starting another degree could be a great opportunity to join ones that you didn't during your undergrad. If you're looking at accommodation, find somewhere that suits your needs and gives you the quiet space to study.

Overall, I'd say just be proud of yourself for taking such a huge step for your career prospects and get excited!

Hope this helps

- Sophie

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