Topic and knowledge after 8 years out of college

posted
21-Oct-19, 13:12
edited about 27 seconds later
by sebo
Avatar for sebo
posted about 1 month ago
Hi all,

I finished my M.A. in social sciences 8 years ago and since then have been working in international relations and development cooperation. In the meanwhile, I grew tired of occupying myself with daily work topics only in a superficial way - and noticed that I actually always was somehow dreaming of getting in academia.

I have some problems (or maybe mental barriers) when it comes to planning my journey. I have a family and need an income, so either a 50% position at a university would work, or a scholarship. When I have my topic, proposal and potential advisors, I think the application for these will work out.

But I fail at researching potential topics and diving into their details besides full-time work (often more than 8h/day plus family, sports etc.). I feel myself very unprepared - I don't remember a lot of things I did in my B.A. and M.A. and nevertheless didn't have the feeling that I really learned "science" at the college (no scientific thinking, no building up a profound theoretical knowledge in SocSci, rather random articles on a huge variety of topics).

When I decide to focus a little more on one topic, I feel that basics are missing and that it's hard for me to first research the "state of the art" and distinguish important studies/theories from not-so-much ones. If I had the time, I really would like to do another M.A. or even a structured PhD programme which guides me and brings me "back on track", so I have the feeling of really making a wise choice regarding the PhD topic. But even for structured PhD programmes, at least those in Europe, you often need a longer proposal including a literature research.

This feeling of "wandering in the dark" demotivates me very much; maybe I undervalue my abilities and going on would actually lead to something reasonble, but especially being out of academia for 8 years doesn't help.

Anybody feels like me, or has an advice?

Thanks, Sebastian

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