Higher learning - Weekend

Higher learning

How postgraduate studies differ from college

By Elisha Judy Tabaque


SOMETIMES, we always get that feeling of wanting to go back to school even if we had just graduated from college. The fun, the company of our classmates, the group works, even our teachers (both our favorites and the “not-so favorites”) are dearly missed because in a way or two, they left remarkable memories in our hearts. But there are really few determined ones who, in full gar, pursue post-graduate studies and eagerly take the road to greater heights. I’m talking about those who are taking up their masteral, doctoral, law or medicine degrees. For an idea of what life in having postgraduate studies is, Weekend readers share their thoughts on how different college is from their current studies. Just a tip for those who are planning to do it: be prepared, financially, mentally and emotionally.

Charlene Suico Hernandez, 30
Finance Officer, MBA major in Financial Management

“I was the happiest when I graduated from college. I have actually enjoyed the years during and after my undergraduate studies. But as I got older, with responsibilities getting heavier, I felt like I needed to innovate, like something’s really piqued my interest – and that is to pursue a master’s degree. So the question is, ‘are postgraduate studies different from college?’ Well the answer is a resounding YES! In postgraduate studies, YOU are the teacher! In a way that you will be the one to discuss on a specific topic assigned to you by your professor. You will spend much more time doing lectures, do a lot of reporting, and making reaction papers. You will really be pushed to learn more independently.

“The second difference is that classmates/co-masterminds are graduates of different college courses, and are connected to different fields/companies, and have different professions/types of jobs. This enables each and everyone to learn something from their job experiences and may apply to those learning in their own field/job.

“Third and last difference I can share is that when you’re in postgraduate study, the subject and the content will be a lot more specialized. You are able to explore topics you really care about in a lot more detail. So there you are. Postgraduate study is really interesting! It will enable you to enhance your knowledge and become a better version of you. I believe that one should really not stop learning.”

Herchelle Hebron, 24
Juris Doctor

“I think being enrolled in a postgraduate curriculum gives you that certain liberty to quit anytime because the added pressure of getting a degree is no longer there. Unlike in college, there’s that certain necessity and urgency to graduate for a multitude of reasons (better work opportunities, pressure from family, scholarships, etc.). Also, if you already experienced working or earning money, there’s a tendency that getting a postgraduate degree is not a priority. Unlike in college where the diploma is a must achievement, I’d like to believe that in postgraduate studies you can just forgo it.”

Julito O. Blasco, 21
Jr. Doctor of Medicine

“My life as a Doctor of Medicine student is very difficult compared to my life in college in terms of academics. Now, I have to stay up all night for the entire week because I have to study countless chapters for our weekly exams. I have to be more mature in accepting defeat because here, we need to endure failure after failure. I become more emotionally prepared in all the trials that may come our way.

“As a Biology graduate, I have to cope up with the clinical skills that we need as future physicians of the world. I learn how to be more resilient and try to be the better version of myself every time I face the doctors/professors. As the Class Mayor, I engage with my classmates of different cultures and traditions. I learned to appreciate the essence of internationalization because in college, my classmates are all Filipinos. Med school experience is really life changing. One has to think a million times before deciding to enroll in a graduate school like this.”

Trisha Aliya Dulanas, 22
Juris Doctor

“For the most part, they are not that different but these are a few differences I have observed. First, the volume of readings and subject matter to be covered is larger in postgraduate studies. In college, the coverage we had for one semester is something that can be covered in only one grading period. Sometimes, depending on your teacher, it will only be covered in two meetings! Aside from that, postgraduate studies really force you to understand the subject and develop your own skills. Sometimes the requirements in college can easily be complied with and are even done as a group, which is why you can rely on others. In postgraduate, almost all outputs are individual. You can only rely on yourself. It makes it more difficult but it also means you learn because you have no choice.

“Teachers are also harder to please. They are stricter in appreciating your outputs. This makes failure more common than in college and makes you work 10x harder than undergrad. Professors do not teach you every little thing because they expect you to exert effort. You do your own research, understand most concepts on your own and only raise questions to clarify something you have already read about. Attendance and class participation is also less important in postgraduate compared to college as the basis for grades are mostly exams and oral recitations. However, this depends on your professor. Some professors even in post grad still award additional points for coming to class.

“Finally, it is tougher to ‘make bawi’ in post grad because the basis for the grades are often just your major exams and perhaps one project. College, on the other hand, provides you many opportunities like seat works, assignments, quizzes or group works that make it easier for you to pass the subject. College and undergrad are two very unique experiences, but as long as you are resilient, you will be able to survive both.”

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