I'm really not enjoying my MSc

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I'm really not enjoying my MSc

Post by Summer » Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:16 pm


I'm new to ClinPsy and am desperate for some advice. I've just achieved first-class honours in my Bsc Psychology degree and have to say I enjoyed every minute of it (Yes, even the dissertation!). I was so bored over the summer and couldn't wait to start an MSc in Children's Psychological Disorders, however, it's only 3 weeks in and my mental health is going downhill rapidly.

I think I'm really struggling with burnout which is weird because I had such a relaxed 6 weeks off! I have no motivation for my course at all which is not like me, I am a very proactive person and always have to be getting on with some form of work. I'm missing classes, not engaging with my course mates (or other friends) and am spending an awful lot of time in bed crying. I know this sounds like depression but it's not there all the time, it's only triggered by my masters. Every time I think of uni my stomach churns, I get stressed and upset. In undergrad I was always stressed, I know I put too much pressure on myself and that's what causes the stress but I always worked this to my advantage, but it's different this time, I have nothing left to give, I'm not motivated, I have zero energy and interest and I end up crying about it instead of being proactive.

I've felt like this from induction week and hoped that it would pass when I got used to the course and I want to keep trying because I am not a quitter, but I feel I may be damaging my mental and physical health (I have a muscle disease which causes a range of other difficulties). I'm torn because I'm studying at Cardiff University which is a really good university, especially for research, and the Clinical Doctorate I want to apply for is at this university and has great links with the course I'm doing.

I know it probably wasn't the best decision, but the only reason I did this MSc was to gain further research experience to strengthen my doctorate application. Obviously I have a strong interest in Children's Psychological Disorders but the course is not want I expected and clearly it's making me miserable. My plan was to finish this MSc, work as an AP for a 1-2 years and hopefully this in addition to my varied volunteering experience will help me gain entry onto the doctorate. However, I'm not sure how dropping out of the course is going to look, and I can't see myself withdrawing and continuing after a break as the course will be exactly the same. I'm trying to drag myself through this year and just get on with it but this is harder than I thought and every lecture/assignment feels like a huge mountain that I have to climb:(

Advice would be much appreciated, thank you!

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Re: I'm really not enjoying my MSc

Post by miriam » Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:27 pm

Firstly, your wellbeing is more important than any course. So you have to make sensible choices to look after yourself. But even without any health implications, I don't think a masters is essential, especially if you have a first. There is no reason you couldn't benefit your CV as much if you gained work experience instead, especially if you can get a publication from it. So I'd suggest either deferring the course, or changing to a more interesting course, or simply saying the course isn't what you expected and withdrawing from it.

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Re: I'm really not enjoying my MSc

Post by hawke » Mon Oct 14, 2019 5:56 pm

Sorry you are feeling so bad at the moment. I have certainly felt like this at times along the journey too. At times I have pushed through and eventually been pleased I did, but other times I have reduced my commitments or straight out quit things (hard to do when one identifies as 'not a quitter'!) and been very glad of doing so. Whatever you end up choosing, no one decision will make or break your career, and you can learn a lot from the bad experiences although they are horrible at the time.

I would highly recommend having some conversations with the university if you feel able. That might be academic services, or counselling services, or the course team. Part-time study or deferring might be an option for example, or they might be able to make some adaptations to things that are particularly stressing you out, or you might find some classes to build your confidence with study skills you worry about, counselling might offer you the supportive space you need to get through, or social groups might offer you some social support outside of the course. I don't think I'm clear from your post what exactly it is about the Masters that is causing you problems, and I wonder if it would help to reflect a bit more on that?

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