The Day Marie Cooper Almost Quit her Masters Degree

Postgraduate Pains

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I should have left my UEA class this afternoon. There was no point in my being there. I was having trouble breathing and on the verge of tears and I really could not concentrate on anything. I just wanted to get out of there.

Three months of lectures, travelling to London, working two jobs, living on vegetable soup and accruing a student loan debt and for what? I have four large papers to write by January because I’ve been too busy working around my lecture days. Both my jobs have just ended, just in time for Christmas. I have three days of stuffing envelopes for the university and then I am officially income-less into the new year, until I can find further work and my next student loan payment – which will mostly be consumed by my student fees

Walking the hour and a bit walk home, and I was glad that no one can see or hear the mess I was in. I knew studying for a postgraduate degree and working at the same time wasn’t going to be easy. The pressures of trying to manage a Masters course, on top of sixteen hours work, the time of getting from A to B, the travelling to London, whilst still trying to do rehearsals, theatre performances, learn lines and find time to see family has been immense.

I have been awake late into a Sunday night/Monday morning knowing that I am totally unprepared to take my seminar of students the next morning, but I also had a job to be at before my teaching class started. Before two of my classes my anxiety levels were so far off the scale I panicked and ran out of work, to my class, thinking I was late, only to find I was an hour too early.

I hoped I could find further work to see me through to the end of the course. I’d hoped I could fit it all in. But there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day.  I’m missing a class that is important for our coursework tomorrow because I was offered work, filling envelopes on campus, and I couldn’t turn it down because I need the money. I guess I made it a third of the way through the course, so it’s better than nothing, but at the moment I am feeling very sceptical about the whole ‘work hard and it will pay off’ thing.

If I had not returned to study, the national and local government would have given me ‘benefits’ but because I am working hard to build a self-sustainable career for myself and investing my time and money into my self development, the system would rather watch me struggle alone.

It’s heartbreaking but I won’t give in easily. I will hang on until the very last penny is gone before I give up. I think I have enough money to make it through until February/March if I continue to be frugal and I can keep looking for further work in the meantime. I have come too far and this year has already given me enough pain and taken too much away from me.

I know that I am going to be in a much better position than those who seem to think the world owes them, who think they don’t have to work at all to get anywhere, because they will break at the first hurdle, when the going gets tough. But I am a fighter and I will fight until there is no fight left.

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