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Choosing to do a master’s... one of my best decisions so far!

I am studying for a master's in Clinical Neurology, a one year full-time course within the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health here at Sheffield. I’m two-thirds of my way through, and although it has been challenging and (very!) intense, it has been one of my best decisions so far.

Personally, doing a master's course has shown me that when I put my mind to something and most of all BELIEVE in myself, I achieve things I never thought I could. This is mainly the academic side of things. The assignments do need a higher level of knowledge and critical thinking than at undergrad, which at first was quite a shock. However, by asking for help from lecturers and other staff, and researching into the assignments thoroughly, I actively overcame these obstacles and was very proud of the grades I achieved. As well as this though, you also learn a lot about yourself. You have to think in new and different ways to overcome these challenges - whilst also applying what you learnt at undergrad - which allows you to develop a whole load of new useful skills. For me this has been things like being confident in communicating what I know, keeping a clear head and balancing my work and social life. Postgraduate study has a different influence on everyone, but the main thing is, I think, that it makes you push yourself to achieve good quality work as everyone has voluntarily chosen to do this and many students fund it themselves.

Postgraduate study is a unique environment. Although there is the occasional “why did we do this to ourselves?!”, (which can’t be denied!), the environment is much more mature, professional and focused which makes you want to push yourself and do the best you can in your work. Having course mates with completely different undergraduate degrees and experiences makes this a lot easier as well, as you can help each other in so many ways.

So whether it is a stepping stone to a specific career or PhD, or purely because you are interesting in the topic and want to advance your own knowledge, there is so much to gain from doing a master’s course. It’s a stimulating and exciting environment to be in knowing that you, yourself, are part of this higher academic level which is different to undergraduate study in a positive way! Of course, it is important to remember that postgraduate study can be difficult and you still need to debate its pros and cons. Just take the time to think about your decision. Personally, I decided to defer a year to save money and to make sure this was the right decision for me, and this really helped me to be completely ready to start the course and take on the challenges that came my way...

Neelum Mistry, MSc Clinical Neurology
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