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My experience accessing support during my master's
Hi, my name is Aphrael and I am a current MSc Management and Marketing student. In this blog, I will be discussing various support available to master’s students whilst undertaking a degree at Leeds Beckett University.
Starting a master’s is daunting. You are expected to keep on top of assignments, have a plan for what you want to do when you graduate, have part-time jobs, a social life, extracurriculars… there is a lot of pressure to make the most of your degree. When I started in October, I felt extremely out of my depths; coming from a different university and then transitioning to online learning meant it was easy to feel very alone. Luckily, I was able to find a lot of support from Leeds Beckett, which made the transition from undergraduate to master's level much easier.
One thing we can all agree on, is how important our mental health and wellbeing is. I was very worried about my mental health going into this degree, so I made sure to contact the Wellbeing team. I did not have to wait long until I was contacted by phone for an initial discussion about what I felt I needed from the Wellbeing team to make sure I got the right support for me.
From there, I waited a few days and received an email for a month of counselling, which was brilliant in helping me unpick my anxieties about the transition to a master’s, gave me tips on how to become more resilient and I came away at the end of my month feeling both listened to and much more prepared for my degree. The counselling helped me feel mentally in a much better space about my degree and I feel happier knowing there are people there to talk to.
I had a call with the Careers team near the beginning of my course to see if they could point me in the right direction with gaining external experience in the field I want to go into. It can be hard to stand out in the careers market, so I knew I wanted to build up my experience in Marketing alongside my learning. The Careers team were brilliant! They asked me what I wanted to do in the future, what experience I was looking for and sent a follow up email of relevant experience I could apply for as well as signposted me to the job board which all Leeds Beckett students can access.
Since then, I applied to a few roles and have been lucky to take on a position as a Marketing Intern for a social media company in Leeds. This is helping me build my experience as I am in charge of managing their Instagram account. This is not only giving me amazing experience for when I join the job market, but it is also helping me with my degree as I am putting what I am learning in my lectures into real life experiences.
Course leader and course reps
I have made use of my course leader and course reps since starting my master’s as there are times where you may have concerns with your course, which you want to express to someone. They are very accessible, and they respond very quickly, which is so useful if you have specific course concerns. If you feel lost on your course, these people are great to contact for clarification and signpost to other support, if it seems necessary. One time, many people expressed concern on my course about a clash of two deadlines. This led to a change in the deadline dates and helped to reduce our stress. If you need help, make sure to contact course leaders or reps; they are there to help you get the most out of your course and your learning.
Online learning, if that is the mode of your course, can sometimes make you feel distant from your course mates; however, it does not have to be this way. Most degrees will have a group chat on Facebook or WhatsApp, where you can ask your course mates questions and get to know one another a bit better. Having these groups and being connected in this way has made me feel much more reassured about many different aspects of my degree. Within these chats we help each other by directing each other to course information, provide updates on any changes that may have happened in the degree and share our opinions on topics. Hearing other people’s opinions and insights has helped me to build a more well-rounded opinion of my own. My group chats tend to be used daily, which helps to make me feel connected to others and to the degree as a whole.
Overall, there is a lot of support which can help you whilst doing your master’s; some that I have not discussed here so it is worth having a look to see if there is any other support you can receive too. I know how daunting it is to do a postgraduate degree, especially with a lot of it being online, so this support has helped me feel like I am truly getting the most out of this year. Even though doing a postgrad requires a lot of independent work, it does not mean you have to be alone. You can reach out to these services, if you feel it will help you and they are very accessible to make your time at Leeds Beckett as supported as it can be.