Preparing to re-enter the world of study

MSc student ambassador Alwarya, shares his experience of re-entering study as a postgraduate student, giving advice on what to expect and how you can prepare.

My journey started as I was working as a senior software engineer in a multinational corporation, however with all the perks of being an employee in a big firm, I still felt that my heart wanted to do something else. But the big question was, what should I really do? A river of thoughts started to pile up and I decided to listen to my inner voice and follow my passion. Always having wanted to create a business from scratch, my expertise in solving complex problems in various business areas gave me enough confidence to follow this dream. So, I applied to Warwick, packed my bags, and took that flight to reach this beautiful campus in Coventry, UK. I still remember my first day at Warwick, lush countryside greens welcomed me and a fresh breeze of air soothed my jet-lagged journey.

Nonetheless, it gets a bit tougher as you move along from the comfort of being a professional worker to being a student again, however, the ability to overcome these challenges helps you grow as a person at large and in life. Here are a few of my top tips to support you in your postgraduate journey:

Don’t procrastinate!

Prepare yourself from week 1 and don't leave things for the last minute. I know procrastination is a big friend of all of us, however, it could become the worst of our enemies when the friendship nurtures over the fast-paced activities of term 1. Especially, don't leave the reading materials to the final minute as your lectures proceed – trust me, you won’t have time to catch up during your study breaks.

Make a study timetable and stick to the plan as it helps in figuring out how much needs to be done per day and helps in dividing the course material as per the individual difficulty of the subjects. Equally important is to balance work and study. Join various societies and clubs available on campus, also, you can even play your favourite sport in the sports hub as there are tons of options available ranging from all physical sports to the brand-new e-gaming facilities.

Make the most of your first few weeks

The Warwick Students’ Union and the University arrange welcome week events to encourage new students to get out of their shells and get familiarised with everything related to the university. From campus tours, free food, networking sessions and societies as well as sports fairs, everyone will come together to help you adjust to the university vibe. Enjoy the first few weeks and join various societies and sports clubs.

The academic session started slowly on my course, where weeks 1 and 2 have less academic stuff to do, however, the workload and the schedule moves fast pretty quickly from week 3. Your network is your family here at Warwick. Whether you’re staying on or off-campus, the friends you make will support you from all the ups and downs you’re going to go through during your time here. So, make sure you use the first few weeks to network and make friends. Actively engage and talk with people in your field of study as this helps you share academic-related queries with them. This also can help you get a study-buddy for the rest of your terms.

Many international students are not accustomed to approaching professors with their ideas or academic questions during their undergraduate years, nevertheless, don’t be afraid to get in touch with your professors and researchers working in areas you are interested in as it could help you get exceptional advantages for your dissertation project (or module).

Prepare for postgraduate life to be different to undergraduate life

When I was an undergraduate at a different university, someone was always advising you what to do and when to do it, and if you don't do it, you're often penalised; however, when you're a postgraduate, nobody is going to push you to do anything. As a grown-up now, it is expected that you’re self-reliant and you can do self-study. The attendance requirement is very minimal, except for some days where it is mandatory.

Also, be prepared to read a lot as you’re going to get something to read every day. Each module provides a stack of reading material which is an essential part of the understanding of that specific module. If you don’t read the provided reading material for the week, you’re probably going to bear the pain of not understanding anything as it becomes the foundation for the next week’s lectures and seminars.

There are a total of 3 terms for MSc and for my course, MSc International Business, the first two terms are focused more on your core and elective modules whereas term 3 is dedicated to your dissertation/business in practice module. As the whole MSc is bundled into a 1-year course, a fast-learning pace is expected from the students. As the course starts, sometimes the whole term would be finished in a couple of weeks and you won’t even realise it because of the student engagement, the group-work, post-study sessions, and office-hours to solve your queries with the professors.

At the end of the day, your MSc will challenge you to be your best and will bring the finest talent out of you to excel in your area of study. Enjoy your postgraduate studies!

Discover more about the postgraduate experience at WBS on our Postgraduate blog.