12 differences between a degree and a Masters that no one warns you about…

Hannah Parker examines what #studentlife is really like for those doing their Masters

You walk out of University with a degree, some amazing memories from the past three years, and some incredible friends you’ll keep for life. But then the post-graduate depression kicks in. You realise you don’t want the student life to end; you don’t want to become an actual adult. But then you remember that MA’s exist, and you realise you’d get to extend that student life for another year! But a Masters simply isn’t the same as a Degree, in fact it’s far from it…

1. Your student loan definitely doesn’t cover the full 12 months.

We all know that feeling as it gets close to the end of semester and we’re running out of money, scraping by on a tenner as we await that next loan instalment. Well, with an MA, that feeling is every single day. Student Finance now offer a £10,000 loan to cover you for the year, but that includes your course, rent, bills, and money to live off. So you’d better like noodles and baked beans.

2. Forget student houses with your rent including bills, you’ll be in a flat with your best mate (if you’re lucky), having to pay actual bills.

Remember making three payments throughout the year that covered your rent, water, electricity, gas, wifi and TV licence? Unfortunately, that’s a thing of the past. Welcome to real adult life where paying bills in a 2-bed flat with a friend (or if you’re not so lucky, a stranger) is an actual thing. You’ll be reminiscing over that 7-bed student house with your favourite mates from Halls quicker than you can say “turn the lights off, we’ve gotta pay for that electricity!”

3. Your course will go from ten people to five in the first month.

People aren’t studying an MA to join societies and get drunk every other night, so if the course isn’t for them, it’s an easy decision to drop out. You’re better off waiting until half-way through the first semester to decide who to be friends with, because it won’t take long before people start disappearing.

4. But, it means you don’t get idiots ruining your lectures.

We all know those attention-seekers that feel the need to shout out crude jokes every five minutes during every lecture because they’re still a school kid at heart. Luckily, with an MA, you get none of that. Partly because the age range is much wider, with at least half the course generally being mature students. But the main reason is that people don’t decide to study an MA unless they’re serious about the course.

5. The camaraderie among your course mates is so much better.

Whether the other students on your MA course are anything like your mates is irrelevant. You’ll end up messaging each other on group chats every single day, whether to ask about deadlines, moan about how much you hate a module, or discuss group projects. You basically become each other’s support system, and you couldn’t get through the course without them.

6. You have a hell of a lot more choice than with the under-grad.

You’ll have one-on-one meetings more than lectures, which means you get a lot more help from your tutor. It also means you get more freedom with the work you actually want to do. However, being spoilt for choice can sometimes make the decision even harder if you’re used to having five essay titles to choose from on your under-grad course.

7. Your weekends are officially gone.

Either you’re working a weekend job to cover your bills (those nasty bills just never leave you alone) or you’ve got piles of work that needs doing. So, you thought third year of your degree had a huge workload? *Sarcastic laugh* your weekends will be spent redoing the essay that your tutor still says isn’t “MA standard”.

8. The weekly student nights out are a thing of the past.

Even if you can ignore the fact that you feel like a pensioner in the club compared to all the under-grads, you don’t have the time to spend a day in bed hungover binge-watching Lost. What’s the point of a cheap student night out if you can’t enjoy the hangover the next day?

9. When the undergrads finish for summer, you’re just starting your biggest project of the course.

Suddenly the campus will look empty, you can’t smell a single hungover under-grad, you’re the only one in the cafeteria and every tutor is constantly on annual leave. But, guess what, you can’t enjoy those end of year holidays because you have your biggest project of the whole course to do yet. Jealousy is an emotion you become very familiar with.

10. You do stuff that you can actually put on your CV.

You do projects on your degree, but they just aren’t as ambitious as on an MA. The Masters projects may be so ambitious that sometimes you want to pull your hair out through stress, but it’s worth it in the end. The sense of accomplishment is twice as amazing as during an under-grad, and the projects look even more impressive on your CV.

11. You’re taken more seriously on an MA.

You tell people you’re studying a degree and they very quickly assume you’re always drunk, miss most your lectures and eat far too much pizza. Now, I’m not saying this isn’t true, but there is a lot of hard work that goes into your degree that almost gets ignored behind the stereotypical “student life”. However, when you tell people you’re studying an MA, they’re more impressed, they want to listen to what your course is about. It’s so refreshing that you almost don’t know what to say or do when people actually take an interest in your studies.

12. When you get stuck with under-grads and realise you’ve actually grown up.

There are the rare times you get stuck with under-grads in lectures, and as annoying as they can be, they’re quite reassuring. You’re almost looking at yourself from two years ago, and realising how much you’ve grown up. It’s a little scary realising you’ve basically turned into a full on adult, but you finally come to piece with the fact that your student life is over.

Written by Hannah Parker

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