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Ellen, currently studying MA English and Comparative Studies

Deciding To Do Postgraduate Study

I wanted to do something that wasn’t just academic, I wanted to do something that would be practical and would be sort of a bit like a job… to give me an idea of what that would be like as I would be producing something that would be interesting and useful.

I remember speaking to my parents on skype about it and them just saying “but you love what you’re doing, you finally feel like you’re doing the right thing and why would you stop doing that” and the reason was the money, I felt guilty.

I remember hearing a talk from someone that said “is it too much money to pay for a course? Absolutely. Is it criminal that they’re making you pay this amount of money? Absolutely. Is it worth it? Probably.” And I think that’s the attitude I’ve tried to have, knowing that the money is one thing but knowing what you’re actually getting from the course can’t really be quantified, can’t really be boiled down to a sum.


I came across the taught masters scholarship, I applied thinking I would never get it, so I thought well I’ll give it a go. I still had all these kind of contingency plans of living at home and then when I got the money through it was this massive “oh I can actually this year there’s space now to make it my own, rather than it actually being a compromise”

There are things that are going to make you absolutely mad, particularly coming from a background where money isn’t everywhere and you can’t just throw money at things and make them go away, you’ve got to be careful and sensible… You also have to find a way of thinking about it where you’re not going to be angry all the time and that is quite hard sometimes.

In terms of practical advice I think having a job is good because you can’t study all the time, you can’t sit at a desk 8 hours a day and be healthy, it’s good to have something where you’re actually meeting people. Rather than viewing it as something that is a cross to bear, think of it, it’s really hard sometimes, but try and think of it as enhancing your overall student experience, this is what people do they have to have jobs.

Benefits of Master’s Study

One of the best things about starting the MA course was the fact that it’s a really massively mixed group of people sign up to do a writing degree, I don’t know what it’s like with other subjects.

It was a great way of picking up contacts for the future and meeting people who have different perspectives and different agendas but have this one thing in common which is writing and making stuff up and that was really really good.

The masters was really good because people really wanted to make something of this opportunity.