When entering a new program it is hard not to have preconceived notions of what to expect. Personally, I was quite nervous to start the MM degree. I could not visualize how I would balance the demands of the program. Yet as with most things, this experience could not have been more different from what I had envisioned.
As I am sure you have been warned, this program is very fast paced. Although I am used to busy environments, I still had to quickly adjust and time manage more efficiently than ever before. For me, this really boiled down to prioritization. I needed to figure out how to manage my time and focus on what assignments were most important and form a hierarchy. Therefore my suggestion is to get used to time managing right away and don’t let things fall behind.
As undergrad was my only frame of reference, I had carried some expectations over to this program. If you happen to be coming straight out of an undergraduate degree, this master’s could not be more different. The anonymity of a large undergraduate class is no longer relevant as you are with the same small class every day. Not to mention the grading system and class expectations are completely different as well. Leave your undergrad mentality behind and prepare for an entirely new environment.
I could never have predicted how much group work we would be doing in this program. One of the most valuable things I have learned is to be a good team player. This includes not only showing up, but also being a good contributor. Even if your strengths may not be represented in the task at hand, help out anyway! The working relationship you will build in this program is one of the most rewarding aspects of the MM program.
Lastly, have fun! It’s too easy to get wrapped up with the hectic schedule during the MM, but it is important to make time to socialize and meet your new classmates. During the first period I did not take the time to go out and have fun because I was so focused on school. That was a big mistake because meeting the great people in your class is one of the best parts of the program. Some of the friendships you make could be lifelong and help you in your future career.
The MM is a truly a wonderful program. It imparts the value of time management, adapting to new environments, team work and friendships. I am happy to report that my original preconceptions of the program are untrue, as the experience has exceeded my expectations.
– Marni-Lyn Fox