Taking Post-Grad Beyond Academia
Postgraduate study is an exercise in project management. From beginning to end, you are managing your time, your budget and your resources to achieve a lofty academic aim. A thesis is a big piece of work. It’s a labor of love. It requires careful planning. Time is not on your side. You have to achieve this incredible feat even with the usual stresses of life impinging on your freedom. You have to navigate all the twists and turns of research going wrong. You may even be managing a team of research assistants, ensuring that they work to your deadlines. If you are not careful, your time will run out. Planning is everything. You’ll find yourself becoming assertive in chasing down your supervisors and your research participants. Suddenly you’re business savvy. As an undergraduate student, you had people reminding you of your deadlines constantly. As a postgraduate student, it’s all up to you. This is what sets you apart from the rest. You made it – and it was all you.
An undergraduate degree requires endurance, yes, but every 6 months you get to discover new topics as you move from semester to semester. In the postgraduate study, you have to endure a lot more. It’s an academic marathon of sorts. You have one topic that you have to dive deeper and deeper into – deeper than anyone has ever gone before. You have to ensure that all of this deep diving is producing original knowledge. Your friends will not understand why you’re doing it. But at the end of the day, you’ll come out of your postgraduate degree as if you have walked the Camino! You have endured. You have shown that you have the inner strength to stick with something to the end, no matter the obstacles and challenges that presented themselves along the way. This is important to employers. They need to know that you’re not going to jump ship when the first hiccup comes along. A postgraduate qualification is the perfect representation of this.
Postgraduate study forces you to go in-depth with everything. You cannot skim over anything. Imagine the joy on an employer’s face when they know they’re hiring someone who is not afraid of doing thorough research to ensure that their product or service is better thought out and more well-rounded than any of their competitors. The gift of postgraduate education is the capacity to see beyond the surface. It’s very easy to skate through undergraduate studies with C’s and get a degree at the end, never having to read deeper into anything. Can you imagine employing someone who takes everything at face value? There’s more to life than what other people choose for us to see. This rings true for business, media, science, art, health and so on. Employers know that people with postgraduate qualifications are going to be thorough – they have had no choice but to be thorough in their studies, and it is certain that they will carry this through to their work. Postgraduate students simply are on another level, and employers know it.
Ultimately, postgraduate study is an enormously rewarding commitment. With the years of dedication, project management, and thorough research, having a postgraduate qualification provides you with hard-earned experience that will serve you well even outside of academia. It’s simply a myth that postgraduate study locks you in – in reality, it liberates you.