Getting on a masters after a long time as a SAHM(15 Posts)
Basically I'm in the position atm where, for the sake of my partners career, I may have to be a SAHM for up to 5 years, and I'm wondering how hard it would be to get on a competitive masters course after such a long time.
As a bit of backstory, I left a very prestigious and competitive course with excellent career prospects to move abroad for the sake of his career (it felt like the only option when I found myself unexpectedly pregnant), and will definitely need to go back to university for further study before I'm qualified for a job in my field of interest. Because he's pursuing a career in academia he can only do 2 year contracts until he has enough experience for a professorship, which means we may need to move every few years for a while. I don't want to destroy his dreams which he's worked very hard for, but I also consider my own professional goals equally important and am not willing to be a "trailing spouse" forever.
By way of a compromise I've said that he can have until DS is school age (he's currently 14 months) to make as much headway into his career as possible, and that at that point I am done and we are moving to a city I can study in and staying there until DS finishes school as I don't want him being constantly uprooted. If he doesn't have enough experience at that point to find a job that can fit in with the needs of the rest of our family then he needs to accept that his career choice isn't viable and look for something else. He's agreed to this.
The course I want to do is competitive, but not as much as the course I was on before, however I'm afraid that after leaving one course and spending a long time as a SAHM, I won't look like much of a candidate anymore. Just looking for some words of wisdom really!
What can you do to 'keep your hand in' in the meantime?
Universities ime look favourably on mature MA students if they can show some experience/ongoing active interest in their field.
hard to say unless you say what area/what course, what uni, paid for or with a grant etc etc. There is no one generic answer. Obviously in the UK, universities cannot discriminate on basis of age or social position - but if competitive, what are the criteria - experience in relevant workplace? portfolio? athletic ability ??
and so on.
Thanks for the replies, the course is Msc Speech and Language Therapy (2 year fast track) and previously I was studying Medicine (Graduate Entry). My first degree was English and I was also awarded a degree without honours in Medical Science after withdrawing from medicine. I have lots of years of experience working with children with SEN and physical disabilities, plus various other volunteering things I did to get onto the GEM. In terms of keeping my hand in I can maybe do some online courses like BSL, but there isn't much work wise I can do that's relevant as long as we're living abroad. If I was applying right now I'd feel reasonably confident - or at least that I had as good a chance as any one else. But i think that applying in my mid 30s after a long time out of the game might be hard. I guess I'm just feeling resentful atm about putting my life on the back burner and looking for a glimmer of hope that I'll be able to pick up where I left off when the time is right.
I think you could pick it up again - bringing up children is also a type of work and you can present it as such. Maybe do some online courses to keep a hand in - some OU, Birkbeck distance learning and the like. Keep reading papers online through Open Access.
How many years of the medicine degree did you do?
I wouldn’t think being a SAHM for a short period would go against you, though wonder if you might come across as indecisive (English, medicine then speech and language) and not really knowing what you want to do?
Yes that's a big part of my worry Letseatgrandma, looking indecisive. I did English at 18 just because I liked it, with no plan for after I graduated. Travelled around a fair bit and ended up living for a few years in East Africa working for a volunteer company. Came back to the UK to escape the abusive relationship I got stuck in, and worked as a TA for children with SEN while I pulled myself back together. Then I sort of looked at the dribs and drabs of "experience" that I'd accumulated and thought to myself "what unifies this into a meaningful whole?" And decided that medicine best fit the bill. In retrospect I put it on an unrealistic pedestal, but my time at med school was also plagued by personal tragedy leading to a long period of depression. By the time I got pregnant I felt like I didn't know who I was or what I wanted anymore. I still think leaving was the right choice, but now I'm in the same position at nearly 30 as I was at 24, looking back over the last 12 years of my life and thinking "what the hell do I actually have to show for this? How do I bring this all together so it actually adds up to something?" And SLT seems like the next best option for doing that. It makes use of my medical work experience and qualifications, and also the time I've spent working with children with additional needs (which is the area I'd like to specialise in). I can work in schools or hospital, private or public sector, family friendly hours and the opportunity for career progression. I just want to look back on the last decade and feel that it lead up to something unified, rather than just writing big sections of it off as mistakes.
I think if you have a relevant UG degree at 2:1 or above and the funding you have a very good chance. My Uni almost automatically took Alumni above a 2:1 onto the MA of their choice ... could you go back to your OG school?
If not then I think travelling etc and being mature are in your favour. The mature students were far better at the course than us fresh-off-the-UG students.
I did 2 out of 4 years of the medical degree btw.
Thanks Lemony, that encouraging to hear My UG uni doesn't offer the course sadly. The funding is very up in the air atm as it was formally funded by the NHS but now I think is in the process of having post grad loans made available for it instead, which may well make it a bit less competitive. I really feel like it would be a good fit for me, I just wish retraining fitted more easily with my DPs work goals. I don't want to destroy his career to begin mine, but I can't suspend my career indefinitely to facilitate his either. Relationships are hard.
And don't even get me started on trying to negotiate when or if we'll have a second child around all of this. I feel like my head might explode some days atm!
OP I don't know if you are still checking on this thread but just wanted to add that you sound like a brilliant candidate to me. SLT will pull together all of your previous qualifications and experience, it sounds like the perfect role for you. Good luck
Aw thanks MissDuke, that's really kind of you
Nordic Having looked at this in the recent past (went to the various open days at UCL and City University last year) - they think that the Speech and Language Masters are still going to be pretty competitive to get on - but it sounds like your previous experience is something they would really value. But I would maybe drop the admissions people/course directors an email to check the degree level requirement - and how flexible they can be with that.
And (and this was something they really emphasised) they expect to see recent experience of volunteering/work experience/work shadowing in an SLT environment (so working with stroke patients/shadowing an SLT etc) - so that might be something to bear in mind.
University of Sheffield also does a lot of distance learning modules in the area of speech and language - but I don't know how funding would work.
And there is funding available in the UK at the moment for second degrees if you choose a STEM pathway - so maybe something to bear in mind for the immediate future? I would really rate the Open University as a distance learning option.
This is me! I have been a SAHM for the last few years and just got a MSc place at a very good Russell group university. I have limited work experience but a superb academic record. I think your experience will really boost your application!
You can do it, good luck!
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