Okay, so for my first blog I thought I should start by sharing my experience about the struggle of deciding whether to go back to study or “play it safe” and keep on working. Ultimately, how I ended up at Edinburgh Napier University!
Hey everyone and thank you for reading my first ever blog (exciting right?) I would like to share my experiences and thoughts about making the decision to go back to studying again after having worked in a rather well-paid job for more than five years. Maybe there is someone out there who is also standing at a crossroads and thinking about which option to choose. If so, just maybe my experiences will inspire you or even help a little with your choice.
This is me
So first, let me introduce myself and talk you through my background. I’m Bianca, a 29 year old girl (I still find it weird to call myself woman, so I’ll just go with girl) from the south of Germany. I did my bachelor’s degree in Tourism Management and after finishing this I went to Edinburgh where I did an internship with an incoming tour operator for 6 months. I really wanted to experience the “being abroad” feeling and thought this was the perfect way to do that. I went on to start working as a (senior) sales manager for a tour operator on school trips for over 4 years before moving on to working as an executive assistant in a consultancy firm for 9 months. (I’ve done a lot, I know) Finally I made the decision to start studying again.
While I was very good in both of my former jobs and I enjoyed them (most of the time), I always wondered whether I should continue my academic career and embrace the idea of a master’s degree. And let’s be honest, I was also wondering which option would get me the most money in the future.
Making the decision to gain work experience first
As an undergraduate student, my life was a bit chaotic and I really didn’t have a routine. During my internship, I had a regulated and “normal” life, working from 9-5 as Dolly Parton would say. I really liked that. And besides, I couldn't even begin to imagine having to write another thesis (I really did not enjoy writing my thesis). So, I decided to gain some work experience and applied for a job. After all, I was just 23 years old at that time and thought there was still plenty of time to get another degree if I wanted to. Also, all the job descriptions I was looking at wanted people with working experience and not people with a master’s degree. That is how my professional career began and I immensely enjoyed it – especially being independent from my parents and finally being able to afford little things like a new book or piece of clothing.
But, there is more…
A few years into working, the thought of getting a master’s degree emerged again. I wasn’t really satisfied with my job and I was really ambitious to do more. I wanted more. I was hungry for knowledge and didn’t want to accept that this was it. But what should I do? Get another degree or just apply for another job?
The struggle is real
First, I applied for another job. Lots of them. As i struggled to find a new job, I quickly began to think could I go back to being a student, with no “big” income and having to cut down a lot of expenses? I didn’t feel ready for that step. So I reassessed my abilities and applied for a totally different job, namely an executive assistant at a big consultancy firm – and I got the job! I started my new career at that firm, with a decent salary that even allowed me to save more money.
Realising that I can do more
During my time at that firm we hired a lot of new consultants – and a lot of them were around my age. Yet, I was “just” an executive assistant. And don’t get me wrong, there was nothing wrong with that but for me personally, I just wanted to do more. And seeing all those young people doing an outstanding job so much further in the hierarchy than I was, was frustrating and inspiring at the same time. That was the point when I realised that I couldn't let something as trivial as my financial situation keep me from developing further. I started looking for courses and found one that was near Munich (where I was working at that time), in Landshut, and just 5 days before the application deadline I handed in my application.
The new chapter – my advice
And I made it! I got accepted and also knew at that point of time that I would be able to do a semester abroad, hopefully at Edinburgh Napier University (because hello, it’s Edinburgh, and Edinburgh Napier has a pretty good reputation! And I just loooove cinnamon swirls). So I handed in my notice of termination and started studying in Landshut in March 2019.
It was a tough decision, especially since I like to play it safe and I hate having debt but I was able to get a student loan and even got a small scholarship for studying abroad. I want to encourage people that are in a similar position to not only think about the downside (debt, low income, cutting down expenses) but to focus on the things you will be gaining (obviously a higher degree, probably a higher income, lots of new experiences, more knowledge and development of your skills).