Thinking about Masters degrees

I mentioned very briefly in the previous post that I am thinking about further study. I finished my anatomy degree at the University of Glasgow in 2012, and haven’t really done much with myself since then; I very much needed the break! The planned year off stretched further as I realized it wasn’t such an easy thing to jump back into study, mainly for financial and health reasons.

Before I was disabled by lupus, I had intended to devote myself to a job and become one of those men married to his career; since I was a very young child, I wanted to work in forensic pathology, and in the last year of my anatomy degree, I applied to medicine, knowing however that such a degree is a struggle enough for able-bodied people. I think it was a blessing that I failed the interview (it wasn’t a traditional panel interview, but “mini-stations” with some very odd tasks!), and I realized I had to stop planning my life as though I wasn’t sick. Of course I grieved for my plans, my passion, but I think I’m more or less at the stage now where I realize I cannot manage such a job as forensic pathologist, having to be on-call etc. I now desire to have a lighter job at least something to do with clinic, so that I can still do my hobbies at home.

This week I found two Masters degrees I would very much like to study; one is Forensic Science and the other is Biomedical Science. The forensic course is unfortunately full-time, and involves going to scenes, etc., so I have mailed the convener explaining my disability and asking if I can have any idea of how physically taxing it will be, e.g. how often would the students visit scenes, what physical requirements are there when we are there. (I had wanting to become an embalmer at some point, but know from my anatomy degree that it is very difficult to lift and turn a body, even for my able-bodied colleagues!)

More likely I will manage the biomedical degree, and in fact this is what I’m tending toward. Forensic biology and medicine are my passions, and so considering my health, I thought it might still be possible to have a “background” job in one of these subjects, working in a lab, for example, either for the police or a hospital. The biomedical course is offered part-time, which is fantastic.

Both courses are at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, where I lived for four years for my undergraduate degree. I have had a yearning since leaving to move back to Glasgow, but it hasn’t really been financially feasible. (I am currently 60 miles away.) The tuition costs of the degrees aren’t too bad; I don’t have that money sitting about, of course, but neither does anyone in my family who could lend it to me – my friend from my undergrad already completed a Masters, but she was lucky enough that her mother could lend her the cost of tuition. My twin sister and I are the first in our family to go to university, and we are all struggling for money, particularly as my parents have been chronically disabled as well as me, although my mother doesn’t receive disability anymore since her hip replacement, the arthritis is extant in her other hip and knees. Dad does work, but as a lorry driver, and he doesn’t earn much. My sister, the able-bodied one, studied Classics at university, which isn’t the greatest for job prospects! 😀

I have options. There are career and development loans whose interest rates do not start until the period of study is over. However, I would have to factor in a move to Glasgow, into a private flat instead of with three others in my family who could help with bills etc. My twin would probably move with me – the only time we’ve been more than 24 hours apart is when I was in hospital 100 miles away! So she’d be there to help me, but finance is the issue. Oh, how delightful to have the money to simply choose a place and degree to study, and be able to act upon it! 🙂

Nothing is for sure yet. I will probably have to apply for 2015 entry to ensure I have made all the arrangements. I have to talk to the bank and Jobcentre re loans and my options. I don’t know where it will lead me, whether I will actually find a relevant job I can manage in the end, but I never know if I don’t try!

2 thoughts on “Thinking about Masters degrees

  1. I am also going back to school for my masters degree. I have signed up with a program here where I live that is assisting me with financial aid during my time in school. Since lupus can be so tricky at times, it’s hard to work and attend school at the same time. So the program I am in will be paying for any school fees, along with gas for my car, and food. Something to look into if your city offers assistance like that. Good luck with continuing school

    • I won’t be able to work at the same time, but there is a govt company here that will give me a loan for tuition. I don’t think they will give me a loan for living costs, but there is a career development loan that banks offer here where the interest does not start until after study is over and things like that. I also believe if I’m studying part-time (most likely) then I will still receive my benefit but I’ll have to make sure. There are scholarships and grants too that I need to look into before starting study. It’s mostly a case of me making sure I know all my options and that it’s going to be feasible to move to Glasgow. Good luck with your study! It’s such a relief that there are some things in place that make it possible for us.

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