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I've just been accepted to do a MA at Sussex

(11 Posts)
DisneylandDreams Thu 23-Feb-17 13:53:18

...and I'll be coming off the back of finishing my degree with the OU. What do I need to know about studying at MA level and at a brick uni? It's going to be a whole new world out there - exciting, but v.v. scary!!!

I was completely bowled over by the fact that it took two days from sending in my application to receiving an acceptance letter, and they didn't even want to interview me! But hey ho, I'm not knocking it, I'm over the moon!

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 23-Feb-17 19:47:15

Congratulations! That's brilliant.

Not interviewing is normal for MA - and at 2 days they must have been thrilled by you!

What's the subject? I teach MA students and I am trying to think what I would want them to know. The big ones that occur to me for right now (before the course starts) are:

- Spend some time figuring out the stuff like which libraries you can use, what resources there are for you, what lectures/seminars etc. you are allowed to attend (many universities run special seminars for postgrads).
- Can you do some reading now, before it starts? You might be able to get some kind of library access beforehand, or some online access to journals so you could read up a bit.
- Read up on the course structure. What exactly will you be required to do? And do you understand the deadlines/the system for teaching or feedback?
- Brush up on skills. There are loads of really good books about good academic writing, good essay planning (I don't know if you're in an essay discipline, obviously ...). You may not have time to look at this during the MA but you might be able to now, and it can sound a bit dull and worthy, but can make a huge difference.

DisneylandDreams Thu 23-Feb-17 22:46:02

I'm just finishing an English Lit degree and am starting a MA in Creative and Cultural Industries. It's a bit of a leap sideways and upwards, but I think it shouldn't be too bad - I'm used to writing essays now, so it's just going to be getting my head around the new demands of the subject.
I found a bit of a reading list on the uni website so as soon as I finish this year's work in May I'll make a start on that.
I have a map of the uni so I can work out where the nearest facilities to the buildings where I'll mostly be based will be, and I went to the Open Day, so I saw a bit of the uni already. It's a new course, so there's not a massive amount of information about it yet, but I'll make sure I go through all the module descriptions with a fine tooth comb, so I can get as good an idea as I can. I'm a little worried about the physical demands of actually going to a uni (I have a connective tissue disease, so get a lot of fatigue) but they have a good system to help disabled students. I emailed the student support and they've told me that I only need to supply information once I've registered, so I guess I won't have to do that until September. All exciting though!

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 23-Feb-17 23:16:50

English Lit is my subject. smile And Creative and Cultural industries sounds fascinating.

Hope they give you all the support you need for your condition - they really should. It would probably be worth making sure that, come September, you get in touch yourself with people like your supervisors, librarians and so on, to tell them you have this issue and ask how they could help - obviously they should know already from the disability services centre, but they might not, and in any case it's always helpful to start up a conversation. At our place I think our librarians would give you extensions on book loans so you didn't have to do so much carrying things about.

One thing to ask about would be skype meetings. Some people love it and some hate it. I've supervised students by skype before, sometimes because of their specific needs (eg., agoraphobia), but I think it's an under-used possibility and might be good for you.

I guess what I'm really saying is, be proactive about asking for support, because you might well find people simply haven't thought of what would be most useful for you. Having a student say 'this would really help, is it possible' is so much more useful than, further down the line, having 'well, I couldn't do this because I was too exhausted and I had no support/ the support didn't work'!

DisneylandDreams Fri 24-Feb-17 00:28:40

That's a really good idea, actually - there may be some things that I've used during my time at the OU that they perhaps might not be using yet - I know a lot of Universities are moving towards distance delivery, but things like skype meetings could make all the difference between having to go in and not, and it's a 30min-1 hr journey! THanks for that idea - I certainly will start getting a list together! Are you at a brick uni then?

LovelyBaubles Fri 24-Feb-17 00:45:16

Congrats! I studied at Sussex- cultural studies as well. It's a great university.

I don't have much practical advice as I spent most of my undergrad in the cafe in the library basement smoking - it was a long time ago!

It's worth checking when home football matches are on as transport can be a bit of a nightmare - mostly evenings so you shouldn't be too badly affected.

horsemadmom Fri 24-Feb-17 07:19:48

Seagulls! DS is at Sussex and is having a great time. Best of luck with your MA.

YellowPrimula Fri 24-Feb-17 08:38:31

I am in the first year of a two year part time history MA . I did my first degree 30 years ago but did do a Grad Cert last year to get me back in the groove . The best advice I could give is to get on top of your reading g list and tinetable. At my university there was an event in the summer when they talked through the modules available etc which was very helpful and meant you could meet the course directors and module tutors , if they have anything like this it is definitely worth going along. Are you full time or part time , I am loving it , hard work though!

Congrats again , you will love it I am sure

LRDtheFeministDragon Fri 24-Feb-17 09:04:40

Yes, brick university here. I am trying to think of other things that could help. IME people want to help, but some aren't as good as others at imagining what might be useful, and sometimes people imagine that, if you have a diagnosed condition, you'll already be an expert in knowing exactly what you need. Which of course you can't be because you've never done this before!

But, I forgot to say before - you'll be great, because students who've done independent study before (which given you did OU, you had to more than many) tend to do better.

DisneylandDreams Fri 24-Feb-17 10:38:03

ooh, thanks for the replies. I'll certainly be keeping an eye out for anything I might be able to do beforehand. I guess being a MA that most students will be a little older anyway, and apparently a third of the students there are Masters level and beyond, so will hopefully meet a few more mature students - when I was wandering around waiting for the Open Day I saw a few of the undergrads, and as I was talking to one, I suddenly felt very old when I realised I was probably old enough to be her mum! smile

japanesegarden Fri 24-Feb-17 22:26:59

I'm currently doing a PhD aged 51, having just finished a part time MA in a new discipline, over 25 years after my last degree. It's been one of the best things I've ever done, and my fellow students are amazing - the age difference has never been a problem at all. As you say, postgraduate students are obviously a bit older than undergraduates, and those few years make a huge difference. Don't worry, it will be fine. Enjoy it!

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