If you are anything like me, classes came easy during undergrad. The work you put into your assignments reflected the grade you received. Even though classes were tough and a lot of work, I still did well in my undergrad. So, I thought going back to school after 4 years wouldn’t be that difficult, I was wrong.
Of course, I was excited to go back to school to get a higher degree, I didn’t realize just how difficult and different the grading system is in Australia. The work you put in doesn’t always reflect your grade and its actually difficult to receive an HD (think A+). To top it off, final exams are worth 50% of your grade instead of the 20 or 25% I was used to. What else that has been hard for me is receiving a C. That’s because, in the US, it’s just an OK grade, not that great. Here though, I think of it like getting a B. It’s really not bad, but from past experiences, I take it to heart. I’ve had to retrain my brain to not see a C as a bad grade.
Another difference is that, at my undergrad, assignments were pretty black and white. While here, assignments can go many directions and you actually have to use critical thinking, which is good to learn but also difficult. Luckily, with time and practice, writing assignments gets easier.
Maybe it’s being out of school for a few years, or maybe its just the difficulty of adjusting to a different grading system, but I’ve never felt so challenged with academics before in my life. I was so used to classes coming easily to me. On the bright side though, through these challenges, I have been expanding my critical thinking skills, and assignments have gotten easier to achieve with time and practice.
Throughout my masters so far, I’ve had to remind myself numerous times that grades are grades, as long as I am trying my hardest, all I need is the masters degree. With a year left, anything is possible and having a masters degree with open so many doors and create numerous opportunities.
How did you overcome some of the challenges that come with adjusting to postgraduate study?
Here at JCU, there are a range of academic support services available for students. Please visit The Learning Centre for more information. Help is always available, you just need to ask!