I made it! I survived my first semester as a Masters student! I am exhausted, since the end of the semester consisted of too many assignments due in a very short amount of time, but I am very happy to never have to see a class test or tutorial question ever again.

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One of the most important things my first semester has taught me is endurance. Going through a 9-week term with a never-ending workload and no break before the next 5-week term is tiring  – especially while trying to balance research and blogging along with my coursework. I’ve found that having my hobbies and not waiting for the holidays to have some rest and some fun helps me refuel my energy and motivation. Postgrad does not get easier and I’m glad that I’ve learnt how to keep going through the difficult parts.

This semester has taught me gratitude. I’ve come to realise that doing postgrad can bring up a lot of comparison to other students and feelings of inadequacy. Doing a semester of coursework while other Masters students are working on research can sometimes feel frustrating when your classmates appear to be ‘ahead’ and are busy with the exciting parts of research while you’re ‘stuck’ doing assignments.

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However, taking time to pause and be grateful for where I am right now has helped ease those feelings. When I stop and think about how much I’m learning from my difficult courses and how those courses will help me become a more well-rounded scientist, and think about how lucky I am to have two fantastic astronomers as my co-supervisors, it becomes much more difficult to feel like I’m worse off than my classmates.

Lastly, I’ve learnt just how much I love to research. I’m looking forward to working on my thesis next semester. I spent a lot of time last year doing research, so going back to coursework has shown me how much I miss it. Although research is challenging in its own ways and I still have so much to learn – it’s a challenge I can’t wait to embrace.

What lessons you learnt from your first semester of postgrad?

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