United Kingdom

Can dyslexic action learner study a Master’s degree?

Am I academic enough? How about my dyslexia, will that effect? English is not even my first language. Will I have enough time and energy to do it part-time, alongside my full-time job?

There were many questions in my head when I started the Master’s course two and half years go. I knew I wasn’t really good ‘student’ as I don’t like sitting down, listening and remembering stuff for exams. I prefer action, learning-by-doing and experiential stuff. Could a girl with these characteristics do a Master’s degree?

My family is not academic and I haven’t had many academic role models either. The reason I studied my undergraduate course was probably because my friends went to University and because I found this entrepreneurship course that was actually for people like me (Tiimiakatemia/Team Academy), so it was all about running your own business and learning through the experience. Getting a BBA was a huge thing for me already, so I never even dreamed about doing a Masters degree.

Things changed when I started working at Northumbria University, in the North East of UK. I was suddenly surrounded by academics and pretty much everyone was studying too (most of them for doctorates though). Soon I was offered to study masters, which felt like an amazing opportunity even though I didn’t have a clue if I would be actually capable of doing it.

I was happy to hear that this course, MSc in Leadership and Management wouldn’t be the most traditional one. First of all, you could only do it part-time and everyone in the course had to be working for an organisation so that they could immediately apply the learned knowledge into practice. Then I was like YAY, that suits for me! And it did, all the modules and assignments were connected to you as a leader, you developing the organisation, researching it challenges and creating strategies to solve them.

During the course, I learned to like reading academic articles, even though it takes me twice as long (thanks dyslexia) and most of the times I fall asleep after few pages, I don’t know why, but that just happens. And I also created an interest in research, which I thought would never happen, I even wrote an academic article with my colleague, can you imagine that?

The last two and half years has been exciting, I have learned so many new things, but I must say that it hasn’t been easy, but then again life doesn’t need to be easy all the time.

So yesterday I did my final presentation, the final dissertation was already handed in a month ago. Now I just need to wait, few more weeks and I will know if I have done it. If I have been able to overcome all my fears and do the ‘impossible’…

If there are others like me, who think they don’t fit the normal University system but want to develop themselves further, don’t give up as there are programmes and courses that suit for us too, we can all do it if we really want to, if we just believe in ourselves and if we don’t give up!