Even though it seems like yesterday that I was coming in to the first lecture of the Masters hungover after watching Dublin win back the Sam Maguire the day before, we’ve actually made it to April, believe it or not.
I know we haven’t quite reached the finish line just yet, but the light at the end of the tunnel is slowly starting to creep into sight. Looking back over the past seven months or so, the journey hasn’t been too bad, but I can’t help but think it could have been easier with a little more planning. I’ve come up with a list of things that would make doing a Masters here a whole lot easier.
- Keep a diary
This is something that has been drilled into me since school, and something that I have never ever done. Let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than overhearing a group of well-organised students discussing the class essay that’s due the next day when this is the first time you’ve heard about it. Do yourself a favour, get a diary and use it. When a lecturer gives you an assignment, write it down there and then. Don’t tell yourself you’ll remember, you won’t.
- Pick your topics carefully
One of the great things about the Masters for Journalism and Media Communications in Griffith is that you get to pick so many of the topics for assignments and projects yourself. This is something you really need to take advantage of. If you’re asked to write a feature article and you have a particular interest in healthy eating and fitness for example, don’t write your feature on astronomy. Write about what interests you and who knows, you might even enjoy it.
- Make things easy on yourself
Over the course of the year, you’re going to be asked to write essays, articles, features, shoot films, record radio documentaries, conduct interviews and so much more. The main piece of advice to pass on here is use your contacts. You have no idea how interesting the people are in your phonebook. Whether your dad played for Dublin in the 70s or your daughter has created some rebellion themed cocktails to commemorate the 1916 Rising, make the most of it. Your friends and family are waiting to be used!
Another thing that can help lighten the load is using your own material across the board. If you’re being asked to write a feature on the same week as your interviewing your friend for radio on the benefits of meditation and mindfulness for students, then write a feature on the benefits of meditation and mindfulness for students. This isn’t being lazy, it’s being clever with your time and putting your resources to good use. There’s nothing to say you can’t do it and any lecturers I’ve spoken to have actively encouraged it.
- Don’t work too much
No, I’m not talking about college work here. Most students will find it very hard to get through the year without a part-time job – those sandwiches in Noshington aren’t free – but don’t over-do it. Every individual knows themselves how much they can manage, some have no problem being in college till 4 every day, then going to work at 5 and cramming college work in at the expense of some sleep. If you’re like me, this isn’t feasible. I would recommend working no more than three days a week. This should allow you to get your college work done, earn some cash and squeeze in a tiny social life and few hours’ sleep here and there too.
- Book a holiday
This is the best part. It’s something I’ve been doing since the first year of my undergrad and something I cannot recommend highly enough. Have something to look forward to at the end of the stressful year. By now, your friends and family probably think you’re a demon after all the times you’ve bitten their heads off as a result of stress, but if there is anyone left willing to spend time with you, get them on board and book a trip. Get a plan going for this nice and early, you’ll be amazed at how much it can drag you through those nasty assignments when you know there is something exciting waiting for you at the end of the year.