How I went from telling people I’ll never continue my education to pursuing a master’s that I love

by Sarah Visan

I graduated with an undergraduate degree in the summer of 2019, after some very stressful months. I studied foreign languages at a university in my home country of Romania (in a double major scheme), and I remember, on the day of my graduation ceremony, being just burnt out and happy to be finally done.

For months after I got the actual confirmation of my graduation, I was certain in my heart that my academic life had fully ended. I got a full time job in a field that had no connection with my degree and essentially entered real life. I soon realised I quite hated it. I found out that people do not seem to care about things that, to me, are essential: women’s status in society, human rights, the environment. The same things that used to be daily topics while I was a student, rarely popped up in conversation in my work environment.

So I started reading, a lot. When that didn’t feel like enough anymore, I looked into going back to school, because I felt like my own studying was not quite done just yet and I needed special guidance. It was my dream to study in the UK because of my deep disappointment at my local university system. I am now a Gender and Women’s Studies student in the Sociology department, a choice that seemed natural: both because of my alliance with the feminist movement, and also because I became more and more passionate about social issues the more I was part of the real world. I want to become someone who cannot stop caring.

Doing a master’s is certainly challenging, though I do consider myself lucky enough to have pursued English in the past, so at least I am comfortable enough taking all my classes in this language, even as essays and deadlines remain a little intimidating for me. But I find that I am enjoying my classes way more than I thought it was possible: not only are my professors obviously passionate about their subjects, but they actively work at creating an environment where students feel encouraged to share their thoughts, relevant experiences and ideas. Despite the pandemic and the occasional 2-hours-of-sleep nights, the overall experience of studying my modules this past year has been one I found extremely enriching, exceeding some already high expectations.

Probably the most important tip that I would like to share is to properly schedule your time. I cannot stress how many times I’ve been saved by a calendar correctly marked with all my tasks and deadlines, or how reliant I am on my planner to keep me on top of my school work (and life in general, let’s be honest). I’ve lied to myself a lot in the past that I can remember everything I have to do, but especially during this master’s – as it is only one year long, so incredibly fast-paced – I realised that’s not necessarily true.

While I learn new things and things that I am passionate about and interested in, and some organisational skills, perhaps the most important thing to me is that I am treated like I am worthy. I have been overwhelmed, in the best sense of the word, by the amount of care and dedication that the staff holds for their work and their students. I’ve felt supported throughout my master’s so far, and that has made a huge difference in my overall motivation and wellbeing. This allowed me to actually spend intentional time in properly managing my workload, wishing to honour all my commitments – though I do fail occasionally as well. But knowing that a step back is a step into a support system that will help you find your footing makes all the difference.


Sara is studying MA Gender and Women's Studies 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.