• Sophie Carney

Choosing a New Path: Applying for a Masters in a Pandemic

This year has been... a year. Many things that I have planned have not come to pass, from getting a job in the media industry to losing weight and improving my relationships. Although it hasn't been the worst year for me, I decided in August that I need a change, a significant change.

When you leave university, you believe that you will land on your feet, you have worked hard for three-plus years to get the best degree possible, you have made friends and started to leave home, so what can go wrong. Even with this unprecedented year, I found it hard to find a media job, but I was getting there. By August however I felt like I was at a dead-end, I was in a great job, but it wasn't what I wanted to do, I had two great friends but literally haven't seen anyone else, and I am still living at home, less said about that the better. So I decided to take the leap.

In January 2020, I had seen an article entitled: 'Authenticity is the key' - budding crime writers on getting the science right.' This immediately caught my attention as a budding crime writer.

I have been writing for about 10 years seriously, starting with fantasy but moving into short crime fiction in 2011, after getting obsessed with everything Sherlock Holmes (thanks to Stephen Fry). My detective is called Alex Cent, The Official Unofficial Detective, eccentric, intelligent and mysterious he embodied everything I wanted, with strange crimes and good stories. However, in the last 5 years, my crime writing tailed off, mainly because I was writing scripts and dissertation for university instead, so I had all but had left Alex Cent behind me.

By January, I was looking for work in media while working full-time. Still, occasionally editing or writing more to Alex Cent, yet not seriously thinking about returning to writing more then I was currently doing. So, when I read although intrigued and excited about a future prospect of returning to university to do a masters in this brand new subject, I had a path. In a month, I was due to be doing work experience at ITV a dream company where I could finally prove myself, and a job interview lined up with several job application besides. I thought this year would be the year to work hard towards a career I had been dreamed of, the year that things would start to work out for me, the year I was going to succeed!

The year however was 2020.

Less than three months later, lockdown started, I was working from home, and everything I had tried to get started was now on indefinite hold. By July, I knew that I could not continue with this, I knew in my heart that this pandemic was going to last years, not months and my chances of starting in television were next to nothing. Not without trying I hasten to add, but I knew I needed to doing something in this time, and my minds returned to the article I read six months before.

I decide to apply for Crime Writing and Forensic Investigation MLitt at the Univesity of Dundee. I hope initially that I might start in September, but instead, I am starting in January, I also wanted to do it full time, yet again, it changed to a part-time after I applied. These changes actually didn't affect my want to go, after all the setbacks I had in 2020, theses were minor. My latest has been entering the third lockdown, the week I was meant to be going, but that still hasn't stopped my excitement for studying.

This journey in starting a Masters has by no means been the simplest or straight forward. This time last year, it wasn't even on the cards for me, I had different hopes and dreams, but I am no way regretting these decisions and what path I have taken. I am studying a subject that I am passionate about, and hopefully next month I will be travelling up to Dundee and starting afresh, which I need after the year I have had.

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