Stage 6: Reflections of a Singaporean Masters student

To many individuals, doing Masters would mean an MBA. This is especially so during catch up and
gatherings when I tell different friends that I am currently doing my Masters, they would go all be
thinking about the former. So it would usually become a conversational starter when I tell them, “uh nope, I am actually doing a Masters in Applied Psychology”. And about 50% of the time I get comments such as “so you can read minds right, I need to be careful of you”. Some go ahead further and joke about how you’d be a master in mind reading. Yeah I lost count of the number of witty responses I’ve generated depending on my mood for the day. And as we know studying isn’t exactly the best thing in the world, so sometimes I just give brutually honest answers which make the uninformed feel more informed albeit not in the best way.

So I started the journey of this Masters programme about a year and a half ago, and I’ve probably
another year and a half to go before I don that funny looking headgear which makes me a Masters graduate. It had been a great adventure so far; we have the usual sleepless nights, hair tearing moments, painful thumb syndrome (all from texting your classmates and checking in on how each of them is progressing in their assignments when you’ve yet to even go beyond typing your matriculation number at the top of the page,yes it happens!) and the heart in throat moments when you receive a text message telling you that results are out. It's all part of student life, undergraduate or post graduate, they’re all the same. The only difference between my undergraduate and postgraduate studies is perhaps the course in my Masters programme is more hands on and refreshing as there are 2 practicum modules which makes it way more interesting and exciting than just attempting to swallow your textbook and regurgitate it in the same form.

Practicum last for a year for the applied Masters programme and during this time, we get placed at
schools (special,mainstream) or hospitals. Practicum is probably the most exciting part of the course
because the textbooks which you’ve been reading suddenly come to life as you get assigned to cases by your site. Aside from dealing with children with all kinds of behavioural problems and issues that are awaiting their diagnoses, you may deal with overly-anxious parents (yes, tiger mothers and kiasu parents included), teachers and sometimes cases that are referred by doctors (we are the side kicks, yeah! ). The practicum provides for hands-on practice in using the various assessment tools, and also for the Y-generation who is always facing their Ipad and Iphones: a chance to practice and hone their communication and interpersonal skills. So really, an applied masters programme is 50% application, 30% coursework, and 20% communication skills sharpening.