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How to master a Research Master’s in Ireland

January 23, 2015 | By | 2 Comments

Completing a Research Master’s can be tough, and often relies heavily on self-motivation and determination. From sticking to a schedule to dancing through your thesis, Heidi Schoenenberger, our US and Trinity College Dublin Ambassador offers some advice on mastering a master’s in Ireland…

When I tell people about my Drama in Education Master’s at Trinity College Dublin (which is solely research and does not include any classes) they tilt their head in confusion and say something like, “Wow. You must have so much free time. How do you get anything done?”

It’s a valid point. However, as I navigate my schedule this year and weigh the fact that I am in a foreign country for a limited amount of time, I am determined to master this Master’s.


Here’s how:

  1. Make a schedule (and stick to it)!    

It’s helpful to break up the day as the Irish would: according to tea breaks that encourage some (necessary) social interaction.

  1. Leave the house

The great thing about a research degree is that you can work from anywhere. While the rain makes you want to cuddle up with a cup of tea at home, I find I need to get out of the house to do work. Dublin is great for getting comfortable in a cafe surrounded by a buzz of people.

  1. Take advantage of this country

When doing research you need to feel inspired. Getting out of the city helps and there are loads of opportunities for students to see the country inexpensively. One way is volunteering for weekend festivals in different towns!

  1. Find out what college has to offer    

As a research student I have the opportunity to listen to lectures without assessment. Trying a course you otherwise wouldn’t take reconnects you with the reason you are here: to learn.

  1. Dance your way through your thesis

Dublin has a rich dancing culture including lessons in everything from traditional Ceili dancing to Brazilian Forró. You can plan a workday with dance breaks tucked into it while meeting many interesting people.

  1. Love what you do

Before going back to college I took time to consider studying something I was ready to commit to. I chose something familiar to me in an unfamiliar place, and it’s proving to be the perfect balance of comfort and risk.

  1. Volunteer and talk to people

Volunteering for organisations you care about connects you to work that inspires you and people who want to help you. Besides, circles of people have a funny way of linking up and can lead to future employment.

  1. Know when you’ve had enough

Be careful not to fill up your energy quota. Overstimulation is real, especially in an active city. Take advantage, but don’t neglect your rest.

  1. Say yes          

A classic rule of improvisation: If you don’t remain open and curious about new experiences and opportunities how would you ever learn anything new?

10. Knock on the door

The Irish move at a different pace that takes some getting used to. As a student here you must self-direct. It’s much more hands-off than I was used to while studying in New York. Benefits include: learning to ask for things you want, making strong independent choices, and making the most of your time.

As the Irish reassure, “It’ll be grand.”

Do you want to study in Ireland? Check out the Education in Ireland website for all the info you need.


  1. Claire Delaney

    You are the Master of Master’s, and “YOU’RE GRAND LASSIE”

  2. Claire Delaney

    And you are mastering you’re Masters, and You’re GRAND lassie!

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