Are You Prepared to Get Your Master's Degree? ...

Before taking the plunge, be sure to take note of these things to know about taking a master's degree. It's not a walk in the park, especially when you have work and family to juggle and take care of at the same time. To those who are thinking about taking further studies, let me share some things to know about taking a master's degree:

1. It Requires Discipline

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I discussed this matter with my husband a few weeks ago when I was battling the urge to drop out of my classes. Deadlines for my term papers were coming up left and right and it was just overwhelming. I have to take care of twins, be a wife to Jeff, and perform my duties as president of a volunteer organization. One of the things to know about taking a master's degree is the fact that it requires discipline. That's why I say that adult learning sometimes sucks. Gone are the days when you can just procrastinate.

2. It Requires Time

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It is not a sideline. If you are serious about learning and making the most out of your master's degree, you spend time, a lot of time, reading and doing your research. Taking up a master's degree means investing not only effort and money, but also your most valuable treasure: time. Use it very wisely.

3. It Means More Reading

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Especially when you take an online course, your professors will require you to read a lot of resource materials. Modules and lessons are taken up and finished way faster than college days. I can't believe I survived four straight months of academic readings, participating in discussion forums, and writing term papers.

4. It Paralyzes Your Social Life

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In a lot of ways, it does paralyze your social life. After work, if you're married, you spend time with your family: play with your kids, cook for your husband, check if there is enough food in the fridge for the next three days. You barely have time to finish the 50-page required reading for the week. If you're single, you tend to spend the weekends reading. Nights out are not that attractive anymore. You'd rather finish your reaction paper and then sleep.

5. It Enables You to Make New Friends

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But the good thing is you meet new people, which means that you will have new friends who can relate to your struggles. In my online class, I have 74 classmates (well, others have dropped out already so there might be 50 or 60 of us left), and already, I'm friends with at least six or seven of them. They are all Filipinos but are based in different countries: USA, China, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, and even Iraq. We have our own version of the United Nations!

6. It Transforms the Way You Write

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There is so much writing involved when you're taking your master's degree, so even if you don't like to write you will be forced to write. I haven't written an academic paper for seven years, and writing one term paper after another this year has reacquainted me with writing bibliographic entries and employing the appropriate writing style/tone for a particular reaction paper.

7. It Makes You Feel Knowledgeable

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It does make you feel more knowledgeable. I told my husband that working on my master's degree somehow makes me feel smarter. Well, perhaps I am smarter than my old self; all those readings should amount to something.

What are the reasons why you're taking up a master's degree?

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