Setting Expectations

Having too many thoughts about starting your postgraduate journey but not getting the answers you need? is here to help you refocus your expectations.

It is only normal for you to have your own expectations about your postgraduate studies, especially after you finally make it to the course you want. At this point, you are no longer worried about whether it will be hard for you to make new friends, or if you will fit in the class discussion anymore. With the experience you have during undergraduate studies and working years, chances are you will. Instead, you might want to focus on these important questions that you should ask yourself:

Will it be harder than my first degree?

Your timetable for Masters would be much lesser than your undergraduates’, but since it involves facing more difficult material on an advanced level, the amount of preparation you need to put in is higher, and more self-directed, independent study will be needed. But preparing for classes means you’ll get more out of them, and when the time comes to finally write your dissertation, you’ll have shelves of ideas to choose from.

Do I need to be an expert from the start?

Not necessarily. Sure, people would expect you to have at least the foundation of the field you’re studying with your undergraduate degree, but postgraduate studies, like any other level of education is a learning process, not a contest. Instead of trying hard to always have the right answers to all questions, accepting that you don’t know everything will be the right way for you to start learning new things.

Will I still have a social life?

Managing your social life on top of being a graduate student is definitely your own responsibility. It depends on how strictly you manage your time, prepare materials for your classes and assignment, and your keenness to keep in contact with your peers. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy, so remember that you always have the option to go out and shave the stress off your shoulders from time to time, alright?

Will it be useful for me?

Are you thinking of using this degree for a stepping stone for your profession, or just an extended knowledge that you would like to have? Your answer to this question might depend on your field specialisation, but there are general transferable skills you can gain from your postgraduate studies. Project management, presentation skills and professional writing skills will always be useful for you, no matter where your passion takes you.


Going into your postgraduate studies with a number of expectations is good, motivational even. But sometimes, expectations can also be out of control as your imagination runs wild, and negative feelings such as irrational fear and self-doubt will come to surface. The best thing you can do when these feelings start to threaten your decision is to take a deep breath, calm yourself down and remember that while some expectations might come true for you, you might end up getting a few nice surprises as well.