From undergrad to postgrad; a challenging but rewarding step

Recent journalism graduate Dáirne Black writes on her experience of pursuing postgraduate study in a new academic environment.

Despite studying Early & Modern Irish at Trinity College Dublin, it was a wonderful relationship with the college radio station which paved the way for me to continue my studies at postgraduate level in Journalism in DIT. The vastness of university can be daunting, and it took me a while to adjust, whether it be the lecture rooms, the library or even trying not to slip on the cobblestones! University gave me this wonderful freedom, yet I still felt compelled to work hard and achieve. It was a balance I cherished. But in my final year, I contemplated what the future held beyond the walls of Trinity.

The postgraduate route was one I definitely wanted to pursue. It’s necessary to have a strong degree to back up the experience I had gained in media at the radio station in Trinity. Dublin Institute of Technology seemed like the obvious choice and the interview process only confirmed my decision. I began a Masters in Journalism, based on a love of writing and radio broadcasting, which was unearthed by Trinity and which I wanted to be nurtured by DIT.

DIT is a renowned, well-established and respected Institute of Technology. It has been progressing with the times and I hoped to further myself along with it. The city centre location was ideal, and yet it gave me distance from Trinity, allowing for a new chapter of my life to begin.

With small class sizes, it was easy to gel and to work together on various projects with other students. Many of us worked on the college paper, which cemented us as a unit and honed us as journalists. The lecturers had time to spare, and were accessible, which helps when you are working on various assignments or pieces.

In terms of study space, the library provides a separate section for postgraduate studies which I found helpful. It was on the floor above and the postgraduate theses were also available, which was a help when the last minute finishing touches were being put to our dissertations.

With a smaller student population and one-to-one attention and tuition, I felt like DIT has set me up for the career I want. The college itself, while quite big, actually was a place I was able to settle into quickly. I enjoyed the routine of things and how everything was condensed into a relatively small campus, with other amenities within walking distance.

Settling into an IT, or indeed any postgraduate course/college, is difficult for everyone. You need to allow yourself time to adjust, not only to the new college but to the new course, lecturers, even the people. It took a while to get accustomed to the workload, not to mention juggling that with working at the weekends too, something that many postgraduate students will be familiar with!

My lecturers were an integral part of the success of my postgraduate study. They were working professionals in the business in which I wanted to work and understood everything from the frustration of job-hunting to the celebratory moment of seeing your name in print for the first time.

For those contemplating continuing to postgraduate level, I would strongly recommend researching not just the courses, but also the colleges. Paying a visit to them is well worth it, even try immersing yourself in one for a day. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, whether it be before, during or after you’ve made your final decision. It’s your future, so research is crucial to make sure you’re making the best possible choice.

Dáirne Black graduated with a Masters in Journalism from DIT in February 2014.

For more information from gradireland on what further study can do for your career, read here

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