Monday, January 19, 2015

A Nerdy Adventure: Masters of International Studies in UP Diliman

If you are just interested in my travel adventures, skip this post.

2014 was a transition year for me. I changed jobs. From Makati to Quezon City. From a 1.2-1.5 hour commute per way to a 20-minute drive (30-35-minute commute). Distance from home to office: 18 kilometers to 6 kilometers. Role: From Tax to General Accounting. Setting: From corporate to a local non-profit organization.

I’m back in UP Diliman. 

I gained almost three hours of my life back because of the change in commute. Now I have free time.

As I grow older, and I believe wiser, I believe that free time should be spent for a specific intention. I’ve spent time reading about travel, planning my travels and travelling. Then there’s wushu a couple of times a week. And there’s my introvert retreat of just reading anything, blogging while soundtripping.

My first love interest: Music. I started playing the piano when I was 5 and stopped at 22. Being an auditor for an audit firm did not allow my any time or energy to practice my music skill. So I tried rekindling my love for music by restudying playing the drums. I enrolled for a year in Lyric Trinoma and learned a handful of tips of playing from my teacher. I even bought a new crash and ride cymbal and even a practice pad. However, the hobby was very “isolating” as I need to practice hours a day to improve my skills. I stopped not because it was boring, but I felt that it would be more fun to do it with other music enthusiasts. And I had no band whatsoever at this moment. 

So I entertained the thought of entering grad school. I was in UP anyway; I’d better take advantage of the location. I shied away from pursuing higher studies. MBA seems the default option for me, but the thought of pursuing it bores the heck out of me. I don’t want to do case studies again.

I did some reading and it lead me to Masters in International Studies.I want to become a world class citizen. (So that's not the real reason, but part of the reason I wanted to take up MIS. My reasons? That's another blog post, if I will ever write it.)

Application Process:
I read the guidelines of the application process again and again. The requirements for the application were pretty straightforward and found in CSSP's Political Science Department website.

I was able to meet the grade requirement. I now realize the value of having a GWA requirement during my undergrad years.

I was informed that I was shortlisted via email. An exam and interview followed. The schedule for the exam and interview is announced via email so check your emails regularly. The exam and interview took a couple of hours during weekdays. I think the exam date cannot be moved, you’ll have to take it on the date specified. The exam is an essay type. Just have a solid reason why you want to take up Masters in International Studies and you’ll be okay. It would further help if you already have an intended area of specialization.

I got an email after a month or so. I was accepted in the program. *happy dance*. The acceptance letter will state explicitly if you are accepted under probation. Luckily, I was not. Being accepted under probation has some rules re dropping of subjects and number of units that you could take.

Takeaway thoughts
Now if you are just feeling mediocre about your current job situation, you are bored with watching TV series on your laptop and you have 2-3 hours to kill every night, grad school is not the solution to fill up that free time. I suggest go try a sport, cook, write, do craftwork or read books. Because grad school will demand more time and effort than filling up your empty boring hours. 

I passed my first semester with pretty good grades, despite my fears of not doing so well because my undergrad course was completely different from this program. FUN!
Class photo with Prof. Kraft and IS 203 classmates (IS 203 is The Geographical Context of
International Affairs)


  1. Consider this situation – you have been in IT industry for the past 5 years, but with time, you realize that your true calling is marketing. Aloke Ghosh says that an Accountancy degree might help you to make a switch.

  2. Hi! I'm glad I found this post, this is very similar to my life right now! haha. For quite some time now, I've been thinking of taking up Masters in International Studies as well. But I am not 100% sure about it yet - maybe because my undergrad and limited work experience is a lot different from this course. And also, I do not know what area to specialize in. :( Although I want to lean on working in international development. Do you think this program will help me in this career path? Can you also give me some tips on what to expect if I pursue this Masters? Thank you very much in advance! God bless! :)

  3. Hi! I don’t know if your blog is still active but I really am interested in your journey towards taking up Masters in International studies. I am applying for the same program and I got shortlisted. It would be great if you can give tips on how the interview goes. Would that be fine? Hehehe I really hope you’ll notice my comment. Thanks and God bless! ��


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