I was at the Post Graduate Education Fair last week. Sensing that it is time for me to pursue my studies, I went there with a hope that I would learn few things before I enroll myself into the painstaking world of postgraduate studies. I really did learn alot of things when I talked to the university representatives at the fair there. What I want to highlight here is the experience that I had before going there.
Some people, after they are done with their bachelor degrees, would want to pursue their masters degrees naturally, which is fine with me. Learning is a never ending process. The problem is when they have problems in determining or not knowing how to choose appropriate course to pursue their postgraduate studies.
There are people who can't really wait to do their postgraduate studies after they have graduated. While this is not an act of fault, there are some who simply rush into things. Doing a postgraduate study would require you to actually know what you are doing. Taking the time to work after degree, having work experience would really help. For example, in TESL, as this is my area, how would you know whether you are interested in linguistics, literature, TESL, ESL, Educational Psychology or even ESP when you are not actually practising them? By working and practising them, you would know whether this is something that you are really interested in or something that is viable to study and do a research on. Unless, you want to do a master degree just for the sake of having a master degree. This is the reason that I would advise people to take their time in getting to know themselves and what they really want to do in life. Once you know that, by all means, please go ahead.
Usually, postgraduate studies would require you to make some researches. This in turn requires you to have a critical mind. I have seen some PhD students, not all, just some, who can't even identify their mistake in a sentence. Doing a postgraduate study would need you to be analytical, being able to see what is wrong and what is right. This is where maturity comes into place, where the ability to make deductive reasoning is fundamental. Of course, there will be a supervisor who will check your work but you can't expect him to correct your every other sentence. In short, make sure that you are able to judge your work so that it won't be called an utter rubbish.
Last but obviously not the least. This is one of the most important reasons. Why would you want to pursue your postgraduate study? Can it help you to get a better pay? Or because you want to make researches? Or simply because other people are doing it, so you are just following the crowd? You need to ask yourself, why would you want to do a postgraduate study. Make sure that it is a valid reason. I have a friend who continued his study after he had finished his TESL degree. I asked him, why now? Why right after finishing a bachelor degree? I would always remember his answer, even until now,
"I don't want to teach at schools. I want to teach at colleges"
which offends me much. Being trained to teach at schools, a masters degree means nothing compared to the wealth of experience that some of the teachers have. Obviously, he assumes that teaching at schools is degrading for him. I used to teach at a school for a while and I must say school teachers have one of the toughest job around. So if you want to get a masters degree because you do not want to teach at schools, that is a totally skewed reason. In short, have a valid reason before pursuing your postgraduate studies.
I hope this would help especially for someone like me who used to be unsure on what to do about my postgraduate study.