Moving from undergraduate to postgraduate study at York for my MA was somehow even more stressful than moving away from home for the first time. At least when I moved for my BA, I had known a few people from my school who’d be going to university with me.
When I moved to York, I knew no-one at all in the city. I couldn’t wait to exclusively study playwriting – the subject I’m most passionate about. But despite my excitement, I was concerned I’d spend a year alone and absolutely buried in work. This was so far from the truth. Within only a couple of weeks, I felt like I’d lived in York my whole life. I felt immediately at home in the university.
The campus is beautiful and felt comfortable from the start. I spend the vast majority of my time on Heslington East Campus, as this is where my faculty is. It wasn’t long before I established which cafes to work in. For example, the Ron Cooke Hub is a great place to spend a day working and watching the lake.
Aside from that, one of the best things about being here has been the course itself. I’ve loved every moment of it so far. I’ve had the opportunity to work on a specific part of what I’m passionate about in a way which wasn’t possible at undergraduate level. Additionally, it’s very self-driven, meaning that I can study at times which work for me, and on things which I’m truly passionate about.
It’s also a very small course. With only four of us, we’ve all had the opportunity to become good friends. We all went to different universities for undergraduate studies, and we’ve had very different life experiences. But our shared passion for playwriting has meant that we’ve been able to connect on a personal and academic level.
Socialising outside studies
Outside of the course, it was surprisingly easy to meet people. I’d been very worried about postgraduate study being lonely. But after one GSA (Graduate Students’ Association) event, I suddenly had a group of people who I see at least once a week for Dungeons and Dragons, film nights, or pub trips. The LGBT+ Postgrad Mixer was a great event which I credit with finding me the vast majority of my friends here. I’m so glad I decided to go along.
I’ve found that there are different ways of balancing workload with the rest of my life here. I’ve worked a variety of jobs in my six months in York, from tutoring to working in a restaurant. I have also still had time for my degree and a social life. Personally, I’ve actually found it easier to balance the workload from undergraduate to postgraduate level. I only have six contact hours a week, and the rest is self-motivated study. This means that it’s very easy to fit my work around the rest of my commitments. I still have busy weeks around deadlines, but I find that it’s much easier to pre-prepare for these now that I am more in control of when I work.
Overall, the progress from undergraduate to postgraduate study has been great. I’d like to stress that there are more positives to studying at postgraduate level than you might think initially, and a lot less to worry about. York has been so welcoming as a city and a university. I’ve learnt new things about myself in terms of hobbies and time management. I still have the experiences, friends, and qualifications from my undergraduate degree, but I now have a whole new set of all of these.