Why I decided to take a master's

by Amy Oloo

Deciding on a master's degree can be super tricky given the overwhelming options of schools and courses. I certainly struggled with this as I was making my choice.

What helped me narrow down my search was the decision to look for something that was specialised and well suited to my long-term career goal of working as a diplomat.

In the end, I decided that doing a Master of Laws (LLM) in Diplomacy and International Law would be the best option.

I reasoned that having a degree in international law would make me really valuable to any international organization. Meanwhile, having an academic background in diplomacy would quite literally be a requirement for my career plans.

As such, finding a course that combined these two subjects was an absolute dream.

Luckily, my choice of school was made easier by the fact that not many universities offer this course; Lancaster stood out to me right away as it offered this degree, and seemed to have a warm, intimate campus.

Flash-forward six months into my course at Lancaster, certain things have stood out to me about taking a Masters.

Firstly, master's courses can be quite challenging because there is quite a lot of reading required. It’s not advisable to skip over the reading as there is usually an expectation that students engage critically with the arguments in the reading. As may be expected, this can be time consuming.

Additionally, professors usually have higher expectations of students because of their undergraduate degree. A higher level of critical thinking and analysis is definitely required in assignments.

On top of this, since master’s courses are super short and go by quite quickly, you have to be more purposeful in building connections with fellow students, especially if you want to form lasting relationships.

But don’t be put off! I’ve found that my undergraduate experience has made me a much better student, especially when it comes to analytical writing and time management.

I also feel like I am much more confident participating in class than I used to be, which means I am engaging in debates more often, and getting the most out of the opportunity.

In addition to this, since master's courses tend to attract people from a vast range of backgrounds and ages, I’ve gotten to meet and interact with different types of individuals, which has led to perspective shifts and personal growth for me.

Lastly but certainly not least, a super bonus of working on a master's is that recruiters are way more interested in considering you for work and internship opportunities.

Even with all these benefits in mind, before accepting an admission offer to a master's course, it is really important to make sure that: (a) studying a master's is something that you really want to do, and that (b) you are genuinely interested in a course.

This is because studying a master's can be costly, and time consuming (as previously noted), therefore, you need to make sure that you are genuinely passionate or committed to the course, as well as any opportunities that may come along with it.

A final tip would be to be thorough in researching the city or town where you’ll be doing your master’s, specifically in cases where relocation will be required; this is because if you will be deciding to uproot your life, then you want to be sure that you will enjoy the new city.

All in all, like anything in life, taking a Masters has its ups and downs, but is ultimately very rewarding. The balance hangs in finding a course and school that is right for you.

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Amy is studying LLM in Diplomacy and International Law by distance learning at Lancaster University.

Lancaster University employs students to create authentic content from a student perspective. All views expressed in this article are those of the students, and do not necessarily reflect the views or position of Lancaster University.