I am writing this as several key deadlines loom and a summer of frantic dissertation writing lies ahead. There is no danger of me offering up a rose-tinted perspective on postgraduate life. Even still, I’m here to tell you that returning to education at Essex was one of the best decisions I’ve made.

Colchester Campus lake and surrounding buildings

Having worked for four years after graduating from my undergraduate studies, I was perhaps predictably nervous about a return to the lecture theatre. The referencing alone was enough to make me think twice, not to mention the fear that I would seem like old father time compared to my classmates.

Ever since the first day I nervously wandered into reception to collect my student card, it’s felt incredible to be back — due in no small part to the treatment us postgraduate students receive at Essex.

First things first: studying. Support can be found in every area you’d expect — and several you might never have thought of.  Much of this is tailored for the postgraduate cohort, with loads of academic support available whenever suits you. Staff dedicated to all academic queries are at your beck and call via the CareerHub, where you can book onto a range of workshops and one-on-one sessions. In-text citations need never defeat you!

Library at East 15, Loughton

Once you’ve reawakened your study skills, you’ll have the run of the library. Gone are the days of fighting for desk space or a PC when all the undergraduates have a deadline the following morning. You can simply scan your student card at the door of the library’s Postgraduate Study Room to get a VIP feeling even better than priority boarding at the airport. Waiting for you is a quiet zone equipped with dozens of bookable workspaces and computers (and full-length windows to gaze out of while procrastinating).  The only downside? It’s on the ground floor so you don’t get to use the Paternoster lift.

If I haven’t sold you on the Postgraduate Study Room (what more could I have done?!) then there are countless other nooks reserved for us postgraduates across the campus.  Essex has a common room exclusively for postgrad students, which is open every day. Almost all departments also have their own unique spots dedicated to Level 7 students. Nobody other than the campus cat gets a warmer welcome.

Campus cat sitting

Postgrad life is about far more than perfecting essays and working through assigned readings though. Thankfully, Essex understands this.

The SU, for instance, rolls out the red carpet for those of us who loved studying for our Bachelors degree so much we’ve come back for more. There’s always an opportunity to meet new people there, with mixer events scheduled throughout the year to help students connect over a drink or three.

If you’re an early riser who prefers beverages of the caffeinated variety, there are also weekly ‘coffee catch-ups’ which offer a space for postgraduate students to, well, catch-up over a coffee. Can’t argue with how they’ve branded those sessions.

Group sitting in the Squares socialising

Finally, to allay any money worries. Essex knows that postgraduate study is a sizeable investment in your future — and ensures support is in place. In addition to part-time jobs and paid work placements, there are also dozens of scholarships and bursaries available every year. You may even be eligible for a course discount!