Returning to studies after a break…

…by Jackson / from USA / studying Public Health / Postgraduate

Jackson landscape profile


As I entered the lecture theatre for the first day of my health promotion class I could feel the anxiety tingle down my spine to my hands. Making my way into the classroom I (somewhat dramatically) gave myself a bit of a pep talk like a boxer about to enter the ring for a brawl.

“Okay, Jackson, this is it. The master’s program. This is a world class institution, so the professors expect you to bring your A-game.”

As our lecturer entered the classroom you could almost feel all of the students around the room tense up. She made her way to the front of the class, set down her items, turned to us, and with the largest smile said, “Hi. My name is Amanda and we’re going to have so much fun this semester.” Professor Amanda Amos did not go back on her word. From that point onward, the course turned out to be exciting, engaging, and (indeed) very fun.

The transition into a postgraduate program from undergraduate studies can be incredibly daunting. New faces, new subjects, and new grading criteria can make it seem as if you are jumping into a different realm even when only your title changes from “undergrad” to “postgrad.” This experience was particularly intimidating for me as my trip to the University of Edinburgh required a 3-hour car ride, five flights, and a taxi ride that I would rather forget spanning a grand total of 7,422.26 kilometers from home.

However, as I entered my master’s degree I began to realize that the University of Edinburgh brings something so unique to its postgraduate programs. Instead of having a transactional attitude, I even as a graduate student feel incorporated into the wider University community. When I enter classes I don’t feel as if I am going through the endless motions of lecture, homework, and assignments. I feel as if the professors care about my passions and even modify their lectures to speak to the interests in the class. Beyond just this I felt as if my role as a student did not end in the classroom.  I was allowed, if not encouraged, to volunteer and be engaged in other interests and societies.

Thinking back to that first day of health promotion, I was completely unaware of what was ahead and how proud I would soon become to be a part of the University of Edinburgh community.

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