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We’re currently in the middle of exam period of my first semester back at university and I wanted to use my “procrastination-creativity” for answering some of your frequently asked questions. At the moment I fully embrace being a student again and love immersing myself in the academic field. When I first realized I wanted to go back to uni again I was more anxious and stressed than excited, though. So I decided to talk you through my process
What degree should I go for? Do I do English again or try something entirely new? Can I even do something entirely different with the B.A. I have? And what is even offered in the city I live in? How do I organize my work-study-balance and how am I supposed to do exam period all over again?
These were questions that haunted me day and night before I finally managed to take a decision, educate myself on the possibilities and signed up again. At the moment I am working with the Master and More fair in Austria and I want to dearly recommend this to you. Here you can get loads of information about the master degrees being offered in Austria, the universities you can attend and the career choices you have. They have plenty of resources on their website but even more information at their fairs in Graz and Vienna. So if you are currently trying to figure out whether to go back to university or not, I would strongly recommend you to take a few hours of your day and go there.
Back to Uni – Your Questions Answered
What are you studying and how did you decide on it?
I am currently doing my Masters degree in English and American studies in Graz. This being said, I also did my Bachelors in the exact same field and graduated in literary studies about one and a half years ago. Before I started my Bachelors degree, I actually did the teaching degree for English and Biology. In the midst of this, however, I realized that teaching was not something I was cut out for and that my passion lies in English, rather than biology. This is why I then switched my field of study and did my B.A. in Literary Studies.
Deciding on the Masters degree was relatively easy for me as I absolutely loved my field of study (especially in the end) and wanted to immerse myself some more in cultural and literary studies. I did research some other master degrees in the area as well, though, in order to find out what else was out there and which possibilities I had.
If you too are currently looking for a Master’s degree to start in the future, I would advise you to check out the Master and More fair. Here you can get information on all the master degrees you can do in Austria, as well as meet representatives of different fields of study and immerse yourself in your future. I find that sometimes you read the curriculum online and have zero
The next Master and More takes place on the 29th of January from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Alte Universität Graz. If you cannot make it or finish your Bachelors degree in summer, you can write down the dates for the following fairs this and next year:
- MASTER AND MORE GRAZ > 29.01.2019
- MASTER AND MORE WIEN > 15.11.2019
- MASTER AND MORE GRAZ > 28.01.2020
What made you decide to go 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, I also needed to escape the academic sphere of my studies and immerse myself in something new. So I started working full-time for a year. After a couple of months, however, I realized that I actually missed university and felt as if I was lacking full closure in my studies. I always knew I wanted to do a masters so when I decided to quit my job and go full-time with my freelance work and blog I considered it 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. Also, I made sure to stick to a university schedule that would not stress me out too much. As I didn’t go back to university full-time but decided to do it as a side-project to my actual work, it did take out 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. I must admit, though, that I really like the courses I selected for my first semester back and this way made the whole experience a lot more fun for myself.
Are you happy with your decision so far or do you regret going back to Uni?
I am extremely happy about it. A lot of my friends are students as well so I do feel a lot more connected to them now then I did when I worked full-time. Because I decided to take a one year break between my B.A. and M.A. studies I have gained new inspiration, motivation and fun in studying. I am fully into going to university at the moment and almost feel the excitement I had when I first started university. Also, there are lots of other perks of being a student – discounts, cheaper language courses, etc.
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 touch choice if you want to have a career in the field and working in the field I am now I wouldn’t need to finish my masters. 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 is attending lectures and seminars and writing thorough notes for me. 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.