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First MSc. Essay

PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 5:21 pm
by RagDoll
Hi all,

I'm having a bit of a panic regarding writing my first essay of my Masters, which I have to hand in on 9th Nov. I graduated in 2006, so I am feeling a bit out of practice and I'm also finding it hard to find the motivation/energy to write my essay after work/at the weekend.

I'm basically just really worried it's rubbish. A colleague of mine has already done her first year of the course and sent me a copy of her essay and it makes mine look soooo poo in comparison! It's just compounded my fear that I am basically not good/clever/motivated enough to do my Masters.

I really want to do well but I am scared I won't :(

Re: First MSc. Essay

PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 7:18 pm
by all_apologies
Read back over your BSc essays; if it's the first essay of your MSc then it'll just be a natural progression on from your old ones. I've always found that attempting to compare your work with other people's isn't really very productive. I often thought other people were far better students than me or produced better work, and then consistently got better grades (and ultimately a better degree) than them and realised that I was my own worst critic and that you usually have a bias against your own work. Have a little more faith in your ability. If you're putting in the time and effort then it can't be all that bad :) Besides, this is early days, you'll soon get back into it even if your first few attempts are a bit rocky!

Re: First MSc. Essay

PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:37 am
by dipsydoodlenoodle
If you don't do a good job this time you can have a word with your tutor afterwards, explain that you've been out of touch for a while and what tips and hints can they give you; that way they will appreciate you going for help. During my BSc I NEVER (except once) asked for help; for my MSc I though tough, if I'm stuck I'm going to ask - we had to write an essay on welding (as you do lol) - after flicking through everyone elses my essay lookes so bad....I ended up with the highest mark in the class. The point is with most essays it is opinion, even if you have the wrong opinion so long as you can justify why you think that, then it will be ok. If you write an essay on the colour of the sky and you say it is red, so long as you have evidence and have done lots of research and thought about it - whilst the colour will be wrong, the content of the essay will be correct.

Re: First MSc. Essay

PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 12:47 pm
by RagDoll
Thanks both. I worked on my essay some more last night and I am feeling a bit better about it now. Having read my colleague's essay a bit more thoroughly, I have realised that mine isn't that bad in comparison. I just really hope I do ok in this assignment, as that will give me a bit of a confidence boost and motivate me further.

Re: First MSc. Essay

PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 3:31 pm
by RagDoll
Well, I've just got my mark back for the essay I'm referring to above and I'm really disappointed :( I got 60%, which is JUST a merit (masters levels are a pass, merit and distinction). I know it's not the end of the world and I'm glad I didn't just get a pass, but I really want to be getting at least mid 60s. I suppose I should cut myself some slack as it was my first one etc. etc. but I can't help feel a bit upset and dis-heartened :(

Re: First MSc. Essay

PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 6:01 pm
by snail
Never mind, Ragdoll :grouphug: I know it's a real downer when that happens but as you say, it's the very first one and you're still finding your way around the course materials. And merit-level pass isn't exactly bad! Have a bowl of ice cream and you'll feel better :wink:

Re: First MSc. Essay

PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:14 pm
by Aurelie
Hi Ragdoll,

60% Isn't awful for a first essay! Although I would suggest talking to your lecturers about it. I found that when I was doing an MSc. my lecturers were much more like friends than lecturers - much more than when I was doing a BSc.

I do agree that reading other's work is not productive. I always personally made a rule not to look at other's work as everyone interprets questions differently and goes in different directions with their essays, but it doesn't make your's any less correct just because it's different.

What is your MSc. in? As this will reflect how you write essays. Also, different BSc. graduates will approach MSc. work differently because of their different academic backgrounds and experiences.

Aurelie.

Re: First MSc. Essay

PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 11:35 am
by RagDoll
I did consider talking to my lecturer about it, but as yet, I haven't. I will be getting my 2nd mark back on Tuesday, so I'll see how I've done then and take it from there.

It's a Town Planning Masters. I actually work full-time as a planner, so it's not as if I don't know my stuff, but academic work is usually quite far removed from working in practice. I have found the MSc. to be a bit ridiculous in places to be honest... I'm just doing it as it will look good on my CV and help me progress.

Re: First MSc. Essay

PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 11:42 am
by Aurelie
I definitely agree that academic work is usually far removed from working in practice! (Still can't work out why!)

It's a good idea to see how you go from your next mark, and it can't be easy working full time and completing a masters!

Re: First MSc. Essay

PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 11:47 am
by RagDoll
Based on my experience and observations, I think it's because a lot of academic's work is quite idealised. For example, in my planning theory module, a lot of the theories were based around what 'could' happen in a perfect world. A lot of my lecturers have never worked in the planning field, which I find pretty ridiculous. How can you give a lecture on something you've never actually done?!

Re: First MSc. Essay

PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 11:55 am
by Aurelie
!! I find that actually quite ridiculous!! Do you find you want to correct them all the time?

I couldn't imagine that - all my lecturers were researchers and so were constantly working in the field, although this often left them more unavailable.

Re: First MSc. Essay

PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:00 pm
by RagDoll
My lecturers do research and obviously write articles/books etc. about the planning field, but observing something and then writing about it is far removed from actually getting out there and doing it.

Yeh, sometimes I do feel like correcting them, or at least shouting out that their ideas are ridiculous and will never work in practice, haha.

Re: First MSc. Essay

PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:38 am
by RagDoll
Just a quick update - I got 78% on my second essay.. hoorah :D

Re: First MSc. Essay

PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:11 am
by Skarlet
Congratulations!

Re: First MSc. Essay

PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:15 am
by snail
Swot :wink: