One of the main reasons people chose to do a Master's degree is to gain deeper knowledge of a particular subject, often introduced to them during their undergraduate degree. However, my reasons were very different...
Before coming to Sheffield in September, I studied Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience as an undergrad – which is very different to my postgrad degree in Human Nutrition. I knew that I enjoyed studying and science, and the prospect of a career in research really appealed to me. However, there wasn't an area of psychology that I felt truly passionate about. Then one day (whilst procrastinating), I had a bit of a light bulb moment watching a documentary on health and diet. I realised that I’d always been interested in this area, and that it was related to the aspects of science I'd enjoyed at school but felt were lacking from my first degree. So I decided to do a bit of research, and came across the Human Nutrition course at Sheffield, which ticked all the boxes. Within a few months I had visited the university, made an application and received an offer, which really helped to motivate me during the final few months of my undergraduate studies.
My first term in Sheffield felt like such a whirlwind. I was incredibly busy, having moved to a new city, making new friends, joining new societies, and of course learning a whole new subject. The first few weeks were definitely a massive learning curve for me, as I discovered areas of science that I had never studied before or that I had only touched upon on at school a long time ago. I definitely lacked sleep at times, as I worked long hours trying to understand nutritional biochemistry while also trying to maintain some kind of social life. However, I felt like I'd found my calling and was absolutely loving what I was learning, far more than I had done at undergraduate, so enjoyed putting in the extra effort. I quickly realised it was what I wanted to continue doing, so began looking into the idea of PhDs in molecular nutrition. This has now become my goal and I hope that I will be successful in securing a suitable position in the future.
I would definitely recommend a Master's degree if you desire a change in your studies or career, as it provides so many career options. If you're able and eligible to apply for your preferred course, don't be daunted by the prospect of something new - if it's what you really want, you'll be passionate enough to put your mind to anything and succeed, as corny as that might sound! I am much happier now, learning about what I really enjoy, and know it has been the best decision I've ever made.
Tilly Potter, MMedSci Human Nutrition