Question and Answer with Beverley
What was your motivation for undertaking postgraduate study?
I was teaching at the time and as opportunities to further develop my own professional development were limited within the school, I decided to undertake a Masters in Education.
Part of the reason was also to set myself apart as an educator who was up to date with the latest advancements within my field, but also to engage in research and to have the ability to choose my own areas of study.
How can postgraduate study fit around your busy life?
I deliberated for years about studying at postgraduate level, thinking that I could not fit it into my life. Ulster offered a flexible pathway of part-time study over three years which was manageable, and by spreading out the modules, I believe I was able to glean more from the study without rushing through it. As far as the cost is concerned, student loans were a great option.
Deciding to take on a Masters, it's no mean feat. You're dedicating at least three years of your professional development to an outcome where you're going to be empowered in your learning, you're going to have a Masters at the end of it, but you do have to realise that you need to put in time and effort.
So it's really important when you are taking on some studies to balance your life and your work. You realise that the time that you're spending in your studies is actually for you, and to benefit you. So for me, it was actually quite easy because I really enjoyed the modules I was doing.
It was a busy three years, but very enjoyable. Coursework was spread out and the structure of the modules meant that there was never a mad dash at the end.
A top tip I will give you if you feel you can’t fit it into your busy life; If you want something, you will make it happen. Speak to someone if you have worries, but ultimately, the only thing holding you back is yourself! You want to achieve, you want to better yourself, you want to gain a qualification. So you just develop that mindset where you're doing this for you and for your career.
How can postgraduate study help build your career?
Before I started my Masters, I was a primary school teacher. I was on the senior leadership team in the school, and I had done a lot of training and courses within the Education Authority relating to management in school.
But I wasn't content with the content of those courses and what they were giving me as a professional, and I didn't feel that they were setting me apart within my profession.
So the Masters at Ulster gave me the opportunity to look into other areas of education that perhaps I hadn't the opportunity to look at as in-depth before when I was in school.
I am where I wanted to be! The postgrad led me out of the classroom and into a role where I support schools across the UK and help them to use EdTech to improve learning outcomes. The skills involved in research, fact checking and connecting with people have been invaluable to me.
The postgrad gave me the confidence I lacked regarding my skills. The course gave me the confidence to reach out and make connections. Not necessarily because of who was on the course with me, but more so the realisation that I had something to contribute to my industry and having the confidence to start those discussions with others.
What advice would you give to those considering postgraduate study?
It's up to you. Choose a course that you're interested in and get started. I don't think you'll regret it.
You're not a tree. You can get up and move, and a degree or a postgrad course from Ulster will help you do that.