Masters programs kill your soul

Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration. None the less this program has already altered my personality, and state of being.

Most common photo of Carleton University

I have become absent-minded. Unless it is information about classes, assignments, readings, TA-ing, office hours, or vlogging for Carleton my brain does not have room for social events, or things my friends are participating in. I apologize in advance to those people I’ve been neglecting. It’s not my fault. English Literature has consumed my life and it’s only week two.

The thing that pushed me over the edge – sanity wise – was being re-assigned a TA position. Initially I had two second year courses: African lit and Brit Lit I with a Professor who I admire for his work named Pius and a not so familiar professor who was very nice. Due to some last-minute changes I was left without classes to TA and the possibility of becoming a TA for a humanities class. Eek! Not my thing. Fortunately, I was paired with Professor Hewson and his Engl 1000 course, which is basically an introduction to English Literature and mandatory for first years majoring in English Lit.

During my meet and greet with Professor Hewson he asked me how I was coping with the masters program. I was honest. I said I felt overwhelmed and already had a mini-mental breakdown on the phone with my mom.  That’s right, I told him I cried. I came to learn that all masters students, even the ones who don’t admit it, lack self-efficacy. Professor Hewson was very supportive in saying that all first year MA students feel the way I do. They initially are so overwhelmed due to the overload of information and new tasks such as being a TA that they begin to doubt themselves. They think I can’t do this! Why am I here? Who let me into this program? But, the reality is we are in the program, we are here for a reason, and we deserve to be here because we are just as smart as everyone else. Professor Hewson admitted to experiencing all of the above when starting his masters program, and so does everyone he has spoken to. He continued to say that it’s incredible that the expectations are so much higher than during your undergrad, which was just 4 months ago/8 months ago personally. He told me to start thinking like the little train that could, and I will get through it.

That being said I’m optimistic and excited about all my readings and new responsibilities. I will be immersed in books for 1.5 years, and unable to sustain a social life. Although, I’m sure I’ll be a frequent visitor of Mike’s place and Oliver’s on campus with my fellow MA classmates. It’s like high-school all over again. I will be seeing the same faces on a daily basis since there are only 25 of us in this program. Here’s hoping for the best, and the use of my time-management skills.


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12 Responses to Masters programs kill your soul

  1. Lil says:

    I have all the confidence in the world in you D. You continue to make us proud!! Aunt Lil

  2. Emilia says:

    After a good cry and a goods night rest some situations turn out for the best. Professor Hewson sounds like he is sensitive to your concerns and appreciates your honesty. Work hard and it will pay off at the end. Just remember when preparing for your classes you were a first year student once and they are just as anxious as you are. Let’s get through this year with little crying or no crying at all…ha! ha! ha! ….. LOL
    Love mom

  3. Red says:

    Ahh to start my master’s program again, the feelings of inadequacy, judgement and the sense of doom hanging over my head….I dont miss that at all, but like your prof said, it will fade as you get comfortable and you begin to set a routine where things get done and you find that you will have more and more time to yourself. Balance is key, rest is key and so is fun….trust me… Starting my master’s i thought that i was in the wrong place and the people i was with were much smarter then me, as it turned out I was wrong and they were only a little smarter than me 🙂 Buckle down get your work done and you will be amazed by what you can accomplish. And you are right you are there for a reason, you were chosen for a reason never forget that.

    Good Luck

  4. Lisa Ventrella says:

    Prof Hewson is completely right!! Unfortunately, many people lack self-efficacy! It refers to your belief that you are quit capable of doing anything. If you comprehend and accept the fact that you are more than able to complete your work and tackle any projects that may come your way, you WILL withstand the pressure and get your stuff done! This concept stems from the saying “believe in yourself” and when you can do that, all else falls into place. Master’s programs are very tough and overwhelming, however, just think, you and your fellow classmates were accepted into the program for a reason! It is a great accomplishment! Enjoy the program, make new friends and listen to Prof Hewson, he knows what he’s talking about!

  5. Cam says:

    i believe in you.

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