The Honest Hour #2 // Thinking About Masters

Last week, Boyfriend and I went to visit the Master’s Evening at Utrecht University, where a couple of things became crystal clear for me.

The first thing is that I realized that I don’t want to do research. The first info session that I visited was a two-year research master in Linguistics. At University College Roosevelt, where I’m following a Liberal Arts & Sciences program, Linguistics is one of my major tracks and I find the subject matter incredibly interesting, especially related to media language. The research master seemed like an interesting option for me, but after the 45-minute presentation I knew: this is not for me. In the powerpoint slides, a lot of things regarding the Linguistics master was mentioned, among the kind of people this program would be suitable for. It said “for those who want to do research in the field of Linguistics and possibly want to pursue a PhD position”. All I could think was: that’s not me.

Yes, I’m currently following a bachelor program. Yes, I’m currently learning how to do research. And yes, I have every intention of obtaining a master’s degree after my bachelor’s. Although I believe the research skills I am learning right now are valuable abilities, I don’t enjoy doing research. I appreciate it, but it’s not something I want to be doing for the rest of my life.

The second master’s program I visited was Film & Television studies, which came closer to what I wanted than the first info session I visited. I’ve always been interested in media and how it works and evolves and this master’s program fitted right into that interest. But somewhere halfway through the presentation, I realized that although I found the offered courses and career prospects interesting, I wasn’t excited about it. I didn’t make me think or feel creative or even remotely passionate. I think that passion is something that you’re supposed to feel when you’re deciding on your educational program – whether that is a bachelor or a master. And I just didn’t feel it.

By the time I was walking towards my third info session of the evening, I had kind of lost faith. What if I’m just not an academics-person? What if I’m not suited for a master’s program? With those questions in the back of my mind, I sat down at the info session about New Media & Digital Culture. As soon as the professor started talking, I thought by myself: finally, someone who gets it! At this program, they didn’t talk about becoming a researcher or dreaming to pursue a PhD. Instead, they talked about how to implement the theoretical framework provided by the master program in society, in a job in the media. The professor spoke about new media and technology and the humanities approach to these – exactly what I wanted.

I realized I don’t want to be research. Instead, I want to be able to create something, to make something, to publish something. I want to be involved in the creation of media products, whether that is online or in print, I know what I want: to work at an editorial office at a magazine – online or offline. What I have learned from my visit to the Master’s Evening at Utrecht University, is that finding the perfect study program is like finding the perfect partner: you’ll know when you have found the one.

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