Choosing to do a master’s degree was not a particularly difficult decision for me—my undergraduate degree was enlightening and interesting, but it felt like what I learned was not enough. I wanted to explore more academically, while also having the opportunity to start that process afresh. That is why I chose to do a master’s at King’s. The location has allowed me to be at a cultural epicentre and has provided me with access to all the abundant literary history and art present in the city. London is far, far away from home—and despite the occasional homesickness, I feel like it has allowed me to blossom into a better person.
My current degree is a Comparative Literature degree, while I studied English Literature in my undergrad; this may not seem like a huge leap, but the subjects are different enough to have risen doubts in my mind about my decision despite Comparative Literature being more interesting to me. I chose the course as I was certain that it would make me a better-rounded student, who is versed not just in the classical western canons of literature, and that it would open more doors for me than if I had just studied English for both my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. And of course, that it would make for better prospects in the job market.
Another important reason why I chose to do a master’s degree was to broaden my interests; English degrees can be restrictive in what they teach, and I had not heard of Comparative Literature until way into my final semester. This degree was specifically important to me because it went beyond the usual western canons. No more Chaucer. No more tedious writings about men fighting their enemies some 300 years ago.
(This is not to say that the curriculum excludes them. Not at all! But besides the one compulsory module, which is so diverse that it features a different member of the faculty with different research interests every week, you have all the creative and intellectual freedom to choose your own path throughout the degree.)
Currently, I am in the process of deciding whether I want to do pursue a PhD.—if my dissertation works out well, that would be a field of research that I would like to engage more in. Switching from undergraduate to postgraduate levels in a span of mere months has been hectic, and I can’t help but feel that a break from academia would be refreshing, despite my own interests in what I am studying. However, the Department of Comparative Literature at King’s has been helpful in the sense that I went from having six hours of classes, six days a week to having three two-hour seminars in a week. With Saturdays off! Still, it has been incredibly overwhelming to navigate during a pandemic, of course, with the added burden of applying to universities and waiting for a visa.
But my main goal was, is, and has been, to work in publishing. London is home to many famous publishing houses, many of whom offer paid internships and apprenticeships to fresh graduates, or to those looking to begin their careers anew in the world of publishing. Ideally, I would like to dedicate myself to these full-time upon graduation for the next three-four years at least. If, after that, I still wish to continue studying and enter the world of academia—well, I guess I’ll just have to see when it comes to that.