Taking the next step

It’s reaching that horrible point in my university career where I have to decide: what next?

For me, the fact that I want to carry on with further study has never really come into question. That said, studying at university has made me realise that I probably don’t want a career in academia. Although I love researching, learning and teaching, the side of academia that I have seen has been full of politics and targets that, in my opinion, can only detract from the true aim – the pursuit of (worthwhile) knowledge. Whether that’s the case or not is a whole other discussion and, at the moment, it’s not overly important. I’m planning the next step not my entire life, thank goodness!

You may recall that I was hoping to skip to PhD, missing out on my master’s. It would still be nice – for many reasons – but I am not planning on doing this any more. I’m not necessarily in the strongest position to apply as, although I do have ideas for research, I am unsure as to whether I will have the techniques required to apply, as odd as that may sound. I would hate to tarnish my name through an early and potentially flawed application if this stands even the slightest chance of making me less favourably considered in a second, post master’s attempt. From this ground, it seems much more sensible for me to wait and do a master’s degree where I will have access to tools and advice with regard to applying for the logical next step.

So, I have to find a course that fulfils a few main criteria and that has opened up a complete mire, basically.

Criterion number one: I want to stay in the Netherlands.
Criterion number two: I want to study a course I’m really interested in.
Criterion number three: I need to be able to afford it.

As I write, I am yet to find something that ticks all three boxes.

I think, realistically, I am going to end up going back to England for a while. I had always planned to return at the end of my BA but realised a little while back that I didn’t actually want to leave The Netherlands. However, I have been unable to find a degree that really interests me. It does pain me to think that this time next year I will likely be the other side of the sea but I’m also aware that I can always come back.

At the moment I’m not really sure on what I’m  going to do either. I’m really interested in Victorian Studies at Royal Holloway – the course is a mixture of literature and art history at the university I actually wanted to go to for my BA and thus seems perfect. However, living around that area is pretty expensive… we’ll see! Other than that, I’m looking at literature courses and have a few potential universities such as Nottingham, Cardiff, and Manchester. All in all, I’m spoilt for choice in terms of where I go in England (assuming they let me in!) so that’s quite exciting. It’s all pretty daunting too but c’est la vie! Pretty sure this will not be the last you hear on the subject!


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