If you are worried about starting your new postgraduate course, from OUR EDITORIAL STAFF we have gone out to look for answers. As always, we sweep through the opinions of business schools, universities, professors, students, etc. that are collected in the main European media.
The step of going back to college or business school
When you make the decision to go back to school, this not only means a new career, but a new life. Let’s see, let’s clarify this question a bit!
It is that it is the moment you have chosen to give a definitive direction to your life or simply a long-awaited return to your undergraduate water polo team. Of course, countless other series of feelings can surface, but without a doubt, it is an exciting time to start feeling like a graduate student.
But with the excitement comes the nerves: it is a brave new direction and you will quickly discover that even that woman or that man so used to campus and who felt at home, in this new experience is having difficulties to deal with everything: program, methodology , classmates, teachers, academic coordinators, etc.
But fear not, we are at your disposal to give you some guidelines on the problems that you most frequently face.
Therefore, it is important that you do not see in everything new in this resurgent stage that fate and the stars are against you. On the contrary, you must motivate yourself, and be aware that the challenges are real and as such you have to make them objectives to overcome.
What challenges do you think you could face in the graduate program?
It is common for the challenges to be simplified in all the technical literature (studies and research, as well as media surveys), and we affirm this with certainty because from OUR EDITORIAL STAFF we have investigated it in depth.
Therefore, the usual thing is to classify into categories, although we say that there are some that are common to all the opinions that we have found, such as:
a) Lack of motivation.
b) Time management.
c) Lack of supervisor support.
d) Writing of thesis / papers.
e) Stress due to the uncertainty of the graduation date and job opportunities.
But this is not so simple, because to this base of common problems (challenges) we must add others that are in line with personal perceptions regarding, for example, making new friends, because that of the large number of colleagues who formed groups unforgettable in the first year of degree, it no longer exists, each one finished their undergraduate degree and began the path of their working life.
So many of your key relationships are already formed and the vast network of mutual friends no longer exists. But this should not be a disappointment, but rather a stimulus to open yourself up to a new experience of interpersonal relationships, because, in addition, the same thing will happen to the other new partners. What happened in the past no longer counts and everyone will have to adapt to the new scenario.
That is why it is recommended that you recall, that you reflect for a moment on how you felt in that first year, recognize that most of the graduates who now share the postgraduate, never better said “are in the same boat.” Introduce yourself to your classmates and seek to expand your social circle in the same way that you did as a student.
In the event that you have gone back to the university where you have studied, unless your course is extremely intense, most schedules will also be adapted to join sports teams and clubs of common interest so that you can still have a life. Social.
In the case that you have chosen to do a postgraduate degree in a business school that has nothing to do with your university, or because you are in another EU countryyou must build your social circle whatever because everything is different and you must shorten those emotional distances that separate you from the new experience as a graduate student.
New knowledge and methodology
It is inevitable that part of the internal struggle that you have with yourself is to convince yourself that you are going to be able to face the new schedules, work delivery deadlines, adapt to the teams in which you will intervene to carry out certain investigations, and especially, a very precise schedule to the extent that you are also doing a part-time job.
End-of-term projects should start as soon as possible so that nothing takes you by surprise. You must be prepared to organize your life in relation to the study load, manage your rest time and also having fun.
But don’t think it’s the same way to have fun as you did in undergrad. Because everyone is busy like you and they also have the same need for fun, but with the difference that the time to manage is very scarce, hence that understanding about the occupations of studies and especially of those who have to share studies and work.
Plan ahead with your friends and make it a great occasion. Look for like-minded people, who have a priori the same expectations about why they are in that place studying a postgraduate degree, that you see in them that there is responsibility and determination, that you are no longer in times of hazing, but of sharing concerns and exchanging cultures and experiences that help to make the transition to that adaptation that is always complicated during the first weeks of incorporation better.
We have seen in a series of publications a very prominent concern in reference to the stress that graduate students have when starting this experience.
Actually, we are going to clarify it a bit, because one issue is the usual stress derived from the tension of studying and doing work for a number of hours, for example, when there are work due dates (let’s say it is a normal stress due to the tension generated by the responsibility of what you are doing); another very different is the stress at the beginning of the course, especially when the postgraduate course is a totally different social environment (another country, another culture, other colleagues, etc.). And this stress can be very negative if you are not prepared, if you have not investigated before entering the postgraduate experience in basic questions such as: customs, methodology that is applied in this business school or university, the way in which teams work , the frequency of academic supervision, the obligations that attendance implies when it is face-to-face and what are those of online training, the type of work that must be delivered, participation in class whether face-to-face or online, based on what the grades, etc.
Emotional stability and mental health of graduate students
We have seen how media on the level of The Guardian, they have been concerned about the effects that the pandemic has left in the graduate studies sector. For this reason, last February he referred to the fact that “the mental health of graduate students is beginning to receive the attention it needs. While the well-being of undergraduate students is often in the spotlight, postgraduates are six times more likely to experience depression and anxiety than the general population, according to a global survey of 2,279 candidates, mostly PhDs. But universities are increasing the support that can make students more resilient, while mental well-being is also associated with higher productivity. “
In the UK, the coronavirus has been the catalyst, as more than 50% of students think their mental health has suffered since the pandemic hit, according to a survey by the National Union of Students.
In addition, all this anxiety was increased by the necessary change that had to be made during 2020 towards online training, which alone caused a large majority to experience anxiety and stress.
And when it is stated in different studies and investigations that research students face some unique challenges, given that a PhD has always been a potentially isolating experience that relies on a good relationship with a research supervisor, it is not much different from the level of requirement that a student has for a master’s degree, especially when he resumes his studies after a period that he has fully dedicated to his working life. Which now generates a bit of insecurity and also stress.
But in itself, whether they are online or face-to-face classes, after the impact of the Covid-19 that has disrupted everything and we are already going through the post-Covid-19 stage, tensions are relieved because the pandemic is being overcome, but the return to a certain normality generates a tension that was not even thought about before.
Even among students who have excelled in their undergraduate studies, returning to study can be challenging after a long period in the workforce, and of course, because of the impact of the pandemic. However, graduates should be aware of the large amount of support that is offered from educational institutions and also from non-profit organizations that have been especially concerned about the impact of Covid-19.